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▲UTHOK or **vTrALmr, rAmKa and 
mrrmrnoK,** **the physical phe- 


WITH Air nrraoDucnov sr 

fOklfmiT raOfMtOB OF bOMO AMD imoi 
eOIiVMBIA uvitbbsitt; authob ov 
ttmt HM^ am AMD A mruBB um,** "fitchioal 







G>FT«I»HT, 1906 

Xyt SmM, Aai^nart) Si Compani^ 



EnUr$d ai 8tati4m§rs' Hall 

!THE Nje.NA' YOr^KJ 


452271 i 



• * 

• • 

fc « •^ 








IN presenting the following bode to the public, I 
wish to say, first of all, that I must not be under* 
stood as endorsing or even as accepting all the views 
and theories that are advanced, from time to time, 
throughout the book. I have offered these merely 
tentatively, and merely as pombk explanations for 
fiu;ts that, on the strength of existing testimony, I 
have assumed to be established. Readers of my oUier^ 
more cautious books upon this and other subjects 
will see that I have not been unwary in approaching 
this question; and I do not wish to draw upon 
myself the charge of credulity merely because I 
have presented certain theories in this book that, 
from the standpoint of orthodox science, may appear 
somewhat ^ wild.^ Having absolved myself in this 
manner, I leave the reader to find in the text what- 
ever he can of interest or profit. 

A certain lack of connection and coherence may be 
found in the chapters of the book, due to the fact 
that some of these essays have appeared, in part 
at least, in the Journal of the American Society 
for Psychical Research, The Metaphyseal Magazine^ 
and elsewhere. This is to. be regretted, but could 



not very well be helped. The opening chapters are 
devoted to a defence of the legitimacy of the study 
and replies to various attacks from various sources* 
This the reader will see for himsel£ 

One word more. This book is not an attempt 
to establish any of the facts, but is rather a dis- 
cussion of theories that might be invoked in order 
to explain the facts, once they have been established. 
The reader who is unconvinced will find little to 
tx>nvinoe him in this book ; the fitcts will be found 
well summarised in Professor Hyslop^s four books, 
in the publications of the English and American 
Societies for Psychical Research (hereinafter referred 
to as the S. P. R.), and in other works upon this 
subject Veiy little has been said, however, in ac« 
oessible books, in the way of eocpkLfuxtory hypotheses ; 
and these I have endeavoured to make the principal 
fkctor in the present book. It is hoped that Hois 
will be of interest to the public, for the very reason 
that so little of an explanatory nature is said in the 
current books. 

My best thanks are due Prof. James H. Hyslop 
for his kind Introduction. 

H. C. 




I. The G>]iiira ScnEKCE • • 1 

IL The Phujosopht of Lzn:: or The Poflsnaurr 

OF ▲ SciEirnFic OpmniM li 

IIL P^CHiCAL RfinABCu: RspuEi TO OBJEcnoira 4S 

IV. Haxckel*8 '* LawofSubstaitce*' and Imxoetautt 90 

* V. The Ouoin akd Nature of ComciouiirEBB • Hi 

ENSonra CoRRESFOKDEircE ••••••• 139 

VI. The Problems of Htpkotibm *•«••• 179 

VII. The Problems of Telepatht •••••• 199 

VIII* The Problems of Sleep akd Dreams • • • 904 

IX. MoDERK Spiritualism: A Brief Historical 

lUsuMi nt 

X. The Case of Mrs. Piper 899 

XL Oir THE Ikfluexce upok the Communicator's 

Mind of Objects Presented to the Medium 957 

XIL The Nature of Apparitions - • • 973 

XIIL Experiments in Weiohino the Soul . • » • 985 

XrV. Haunted Houses : Theories ..•«••• 319 

XV. Haunted Houses and their Cure • • * • 331 

XVI. Premonitions : Facts and Theories . • • . 348 

XVII. EusAPiA Paladino and the Physical Phenomena 

OF Spiritualism •••*• 369 


INDEX • • • « • • 391 


MR. CARBINGTON has asked me to write a 
brief introduction to his book on psychic 
research, and I am glad to comply with his request. 
He has here covered in a very clear and intelligible 
way the main points of interest in the problems which 
concern the psychic researcher. The book assumes 
that the facts are known or easily accessible to the 
reader in the publications of the Society for Psychical 
Research, and hence the main part of the author^s 
task is discussion of their real or possible meaning 
and explanation. The chapter on telepathy I can* 
not help thinking is a very conservative and cau- 
tious one ; for the general public has used that 
idea so freely that it is constantly assumed to be 
a well-known and well-understood phenomenon. It 
is far from this, and yet is the least that a psychical 
researcher can accept in r^;ard to certain facts. 
Mr. Carrington brings out clearly that it is not 
to be regarded as an explanation of anything, and 
is only a name for facts requiring such an expla- 
nation. This is of all things one of the most im- 
portant qualifications with which the term is to be 

used. Moreover, it is well to keep in mind that 




even, as an alleged fact of the supernormal kind, 
it is not a generally accepted phenomenon in the 
scientific world. Only a few men seriously believe 
in it, and others are willing to speak and think 
of it tolerantly in order to escape a profounder 
alternative. But no intelligent scientific man will 
think or speak of it with that confidence of feeling 
that he indulges in with regard to physical phe* 
nomena, or think that he understands it. Whatever 
it is, as a phenomenon to be explained, its meaning 
and explanation are still mAjudice for the scientific 

On the other topics of the book Mr. Carringtoa 
furnishes no less interesting discussion, and I have 
no doubt that readers will find the matter exceed* 
ingly helpful in directing their reflections on them. 
The whole subject has been left by the more 
responsible educators of the community to a public 
which has not been directed by the traditions of 
science, and the consequence is that speculation 
runs riot in theories for which there is no ade- 
quate evidence. It is high time that some such 
conservative discussion as this little book affords 
should receive intelligent attention. 

James H. Hyslop. 






THE majority of persons, upon seeing the 
title of this book, will at once ask : What is 
the Coming Science? I do not doubt that many 
will think that this consists of the newer discov* 
eries in physics and radio-activity, about which we 
are hearing so much to-day ; others will think that 
it is biology ; others psychology ; others electricity, 
and so on — in fact, each will construe the 
title differently, according to his beliefs in the pos- 
sibilities of the subject mentioned and in propor- 
tion to his interest in it. Thus the person inter- 
ested in the newer discoveries in physics will think 
that the first of the above-mentioned departments 
of science will be the one most cultivated in the 
future and that from which most is to be hoped 
by coming generations ; those interested in psychol- 
ogy will think that that is the subject of study 
for the future; and so on, each one thinking that 
some certain department of science will be the one 
most in evidence in the coming years, though 
never neglectful of nor blind to the possibilities 


of the others. To my mind the Coming Science 
will not be any of those just named, but will be 
one that is not as yet recognised as a science at 
all, properly speaking, by the majority of scien- 
tiste. I refer to what are known as psychic phe- 
nomena, and the Coming Science is psychic re- 
search. Although this statement may arouse 
the ridicule of many of my readers, I think that 
there are facts to support it and that far from 
being irrational, this is the logical outcome of 
modem thought and will represent an extension of 
our present-day science in the right and logical di- 
rection. I shall now attempt to lay before the 
reader a few of the many reasons that have forced 
me to believe this to be true, and shall endeavour 
to show that the outcome is only what is to be ex-* 
pected from a close study of the facts. 

In the process of time, the world has. passed 
through various stages of evolution. First of all, 
there was the purely animal stage (I am referring 
now only to man), and in that era brute force was 
the ruling power; it was this that was most ad- 
mired and upon which life depended. Then the 
era of mind began to dawn. It was discovered 
that cunning and skilled planning could over- 
come the power of pure force, and man began to 
cultivate and desire mind more than brute strength, 
and evolution began to tend in that direction. 


Less and less space within the organism was de- 
voted to the digestive functions and other animal 
propensities, and more to the higher thinking 
and feeling and willing organs. A study of com- 
parative anatomy will prove this. So, as man 
ascended in the scale of evolution, mind became the 
all-ruling and preponderating element, and animal 
force became less prominent and less admired. 
Mind was first of all devoted, probably, to the fur- 
therance of the desires of the individual organism ; 
but later it spread over wider areas and extended 
to higher and broader spheres; pure, abstract 
thinking became possible, and altruism, or thought 
of others besides self, began to show itself through 
the darkness that had imtil then reigned supreme 
Hpon the world. And with this higher knowledge 
began to develop that spiritual self and conscious- 
ness of which we are just beginning to catch the 
first signs, and which is doubtless in its very in- 
fancy in the realm of higher knowledge. This 
spiritual side of man, that is just becoming mani- 
fest, may possess powers and potencies as great, 
as relatively great when compared to the purely 
mental world, as that was above the physical and 
animal world. A creature living on the first plane 
would be totally incapable of appreciating any 
of the joys and possibilities of one living on the 
second or thought-plane; and, by analogy, it is 


more than probable that we, of the second plane, 
cannot appreciate or understand the possibilities 
and returns of those who have at least tasted or 
faintly perceived the third or spiritual plane. The 
aspirations would be different; the same joys would 
not be sought by both; and those of the third 
plane would be superior to many of the desires 
and appetites of those living on the second or 
mental plane — just as they in turn would be 
superior to those of the iSrst. This would seem 
to be borne out by the fact that yogis, and per* 
haps certain mediums, who have (so it is claimed) 
risen beyond the second into the third plane, are 
independent of many of the things felt to be neces* 
sities by those on the second plane. Their desires 
and aspirations are of a different order, and with 
them what is most desired is spiritual growth and 
development; material and mental growth are not 
sought for and desired as they are with us. But 
to desire that development it must first of all be 
tasted, — in a trifling degree, perhaps, but still 
tasted, — and the germs and the possibilities must 
be present within the being of one capable of de* 
siring such advancement. As Professor James 
pointed out many years ago, a man is only jeal- 
ous of one who excels him in his own line of work, 
and although he (speaking for himself) would 
feel ashamed if any man knew more psychology 


than he, he did not at all mind if many men ex- 
celled him in botany or billiards or prize-fight- 
ing or in a number of other pursuits and studies, 
though the botanist or the billiard-player or 
the prize-fighter would feel ashamed to be beaten 
by anyone else in his own special line of work or 
occupation. This shows, merely, that we only de- 
sire, ceteris paribus^ what is an ideal possibility; 
and if we are capable of feeling and experiencing 
envy (in its best sense) for another more de- 
veloped than ourselves in any certain direction, it 
shows that we have some of that very thing in 
us; and more, that we are, unconsciously perhaps, 
striving to excel in that line of endeavour. 

Now, I think that there are few of us who do 
not admire, not to say envy, any man or woman 
in whom this spiritual side is highly developed. 
We wish that we also had their capacities in this 
direction, and we endeavour to emulate their ex- 
ample—often to the betterment of ourselves, as 
we know. This shows us conclusively that there 
is in each of us a hidden spiritual side, which 
needs only to be developed in order to be brought 
into full blossom — foregoing, perhaps, many of 
the so-called delights and plesusures of this world 
in the attempt, but, we may be assured, reaping 
a reward at some time, in some place. A spiritual 
side is latent in all of us, awaiting its development. 


What k this unknown, spiritual side? Whence 
came it, and what are its capacities? These are 
some of the questions to which we must now ad- 
dress ourselves. 

During the past two hundred years, science has 
been devoting her energies (rightly) to the phys- 
ical sciences — physics, chemistry, anatomy, phys- 
iology, astronomy, etc. It is only of late that 
psychology has risen to a place among the other 
sciences, while philosophy and metaphysics are 
still laughed at by many scientists as mere idle 
dreams or as pleasant ways of passing time that 
might be more profitably spent in other pursuits. 
It has never seemed to occur to these scientists that 
the conclusions drawn from every one of their facts 
are, at basis, metaphysical, and that all science, 
inasmuch as it is systematic, must be philosophical ! 
This is now recognised, it must be admitted, to 
some degree, and the old antagonism to these sub- 
jects is fast disappearing; but they are yet looked 
upon as in some way inferior, and dependent upon 
the physical sciences for their value and existence. 
Of course this is not true in the sense that it is 
generally understood; but I think it quite right 
that science should have devoted her early time 
and energies to a close and systematic study of 
the objective world, and to have ignored all else. 
Only in that way could any real progress have 


been made at a time when so little was known 
of the universe in any part of its parts. But 
there is no reason for continuing this resentful 
and intolerant attitude now that we have placed 
science upon a sure foundation ; and we are learn- 
ing slowly but more and more surely every day 
that behind and beyond this material, seen and 
phenomenal world there is yet another world of 
causes — that which produces the effects we per- 
ceive. We find that every one of the physical 
sciences comes to a point where it can go no fur- 
ther, and this has proved to be the case even with 
such material sciences as chemistry and physics. 
Ten years ago it was one of the very funda- 
mentals of science that the material atom was the 
most minute particle of matter in the world, and 
that from it this and all other worlds were built; 
that it was indivisible, unchangeable and eternal: 
it formed the very foundation stone of the uni- 
verse. But now we find that these atoms have 
been split up and divided ; we have now an * elec- 
trical theory of matter' which has verily ex- 
plained away matter altogether, so that we are 
no longer entitled to think of it as matter at all, 
but as something else, itself immaterial ! This be- 
ing so, it will be seen that we are entitled to doubt 
whether any such thing as a material world exists 
at all, in the sense in which it is generally under- 


stood, and that matter and the seen and tangible 
world recedes into the unseen and intangible world 
of force and causation. *' Matter " no longer 
means what it did a few years ago; it exists only 
as a name; and soon we must begin to study the 
forces that lie behind matter, of which it is the 
active manifestation. The world of causes and 
forces lies before us, an unopened book. In the 
past we have been studying merely the world of 
products and effects. 

Let us take a simple example by way of illustra- 
tion. Two chemical elements combine to form a 
new substance (so-called) with properties different 
from either. This has occurred because there has 
been operative a certain force, called for conven- 
ience chemical affinity, which has caused this great 
change and brought these results to pass. The 
effects of this force or of these forces have been 
studied, the new product has been analysed, 
weighed and classified ; but little attention has been 
given to the force that produced these changes — 
the chemical affinity. What is this force which 
produced the change? It may be classed, with 
others, in the Law of Conservation ; but does that 
do aught but classify it; does it in any way at- 
tempt to explain it? Surely not! The law of 
this force may have been determined, but the 
nature of the force is still a mystery. 


I contend then that the study of these forces 
— these notimena — should be that which most oc- 
cupies our minds during the coming century; it 
will be a century for work in and study of causes 
rather than effects. And more, the course of 
science will swing round into a study of the mental 
forces and powers of the universe; partly because 
all other forces will be traced into an unseen world, 
equally with consciousness; partly because this 
world presents a wider field for inquiry than any 
other, since it is in its infancy in every stage; 
and thirdly because, I am assured, the key to 
many other facts in the universe will be found in 
this world of mental forces and causes. This is 
too large a problem to discuss here; I mention it 
merely by way of suggestion. 

Let us now take up for discussion the most im- 
portant factor of all (to us). We have been 
speaking of the physical sciences, etc., without bear- 
ing in mind that every fact known to us must be 
acquired and retained in consciousness; that is, 
in that side of man which raises him far above 
the animal world in every respect, even enabling 
him to overcome or offset its greater strength by 
his mind alone. Consequently a study of con- 
sciousness is by far the most important study of 
all, for it is only by and through consciousness that 
all else is understood and perceived. I have dis- 


cussed the relation of consciousness to the orgamsm 
elsewhere, as well as some of the problems that 
arise from a study of these facts, and they need 
not and cannot be discussed here. I wish to touch 
in this place upon only one side of it — what may 
be called the religious consciousness — that side of 
man which concerns itself with tiie origin and des- 
tiny of the human being, or in academic phrase- 
ology, of the * soul.' 

All religions are based upon the double idea 
of some all-seeing deity, and upon the persistence 
of consciousness or the " immortality of the soul." 
But of late grave doubts have arisen in every 
thinking man's mind as to whether either or both 
of these facts are true; whether there is any such 
deity, or if the soul continues to exist after the 
destruction of the physical organism. The first 
of these problems would lead us too far astray, and 
we cannot now stop to consider it. We shaU, 
therefore, concentrate our attention on the other 
problem, whether consciousness can and does per- 
sist after the death of the physical body; and if 
it be shown that it does so persist, then this prob- 
lem will have been solved and one of the great 
stumbling blocks removed. If it can be shown 
that consciousness can persist apart from brain 
activity and a nervous system, then materialism 


will have been ovprthrown and another mterpretar 
tion of the universe rendered possible. 

As before stated, all religions are based, more 
or less, upon this idea that the ^ soul ' exists apart 
from the physical body; but none of these re- 
ligions offers us any evidence of that fact. For 
the evidence we are referred back to certain facts 
that happened many centuries ago, and no addi- 
tional or contemporary evidence is vouchsafed. 
Now materialism asserts that consciousness is 
bound up with a material brain and that, apart 
from such a brain, there can be no consciousness. 
If it does so persist, says materialism, where is your 
evidence for that fact? And apart from certain 
phenomena called psychic, there is no evidence 
whatever that materialism is not true. At least 
we could never offset or disprove its claims. But 
if it can be shown that certain facts actually oc- 
cur which are inexphcable and cannot be accounted 
for on any theory of materialism, then the exist- 
ence of psychic facts will have been established 
and the persistence of a soul of a conscious sort, 
after death, also proved. It will be seen that this 
subject at once assimies a look of gigantic im- 
portance. Whether or not such facts occur is one 
of the most important questions, if not the most 
important question, before the world to-day, for 



the reason that a whole world-philosophy is based 
thereon. Psychical phenomena offer the only 
proof that we can ever obtain that a soul or con- 
sciousness can exist apart from brain functioning, 
and it consequently becomes a matter of the first 
importance to ascertain, if possible, whether such 
facts actually exist, or whether they are one and 
all hallucination and the results of fraud and a dis- 
ordered imagination. 

It is not the province of this book to establish 
those facts. A much larger work would be needed 
to accomplish it — if indeed it could be done. 
Hundreds of volumes full of such evidence can 
be obtained, and to these I would refer the reader 
who is unconvinced of the facts. It is my pur- 
pose merely, in the present volume, to point out 
that this is, or should be, the problem or science 
of the coming century — to ascertain as far as 
possible how far these so-called * facts ' are such 
in reality, and then, granting for the sake of argu- 
ment that the facts are really established, to dis- 
cuss theories that would in some way account for 
them. The establishment of the facts will neces- 
sitate the work of many men over a period of 
many years ; the present book is merely an attempt 
to point out certain of the difficulties and problems 
that must be faced and overcome in the investiga- 
tion of such phenomena, and a general and 


theoretical discussion of theories that must be ad- 
vanced to account for the facts when once es- 
tablished. It is one of the most interesting and 
fascinating of fields for the worker — this border- 
land between mind and matter — * and may in truth 
be called, at this stage of investigation, the Com- 
ing Science. 



THE laws of health, the great laws of hygiene^ 
are all very important — indeed, one might 
say fundamentally important — because, unless one 
knows what the laws of health are and consciously 
or unconsciously obeys them, there can be no last- 
ing health. Without health there can be no real 
happiness — no true life ; for ** good health '* 
does not mean only, as its consequent, a clean 
physical organism, i. e,, a healthy animal^ but also 
a more highly educated and advanced, a more moral 
and spiritual individual, since the bodily health, 
reacting upon the organism, does, without any 
doubt, affect both the mental and the moral na- 
tures of man ; and for this reason, if for no other, 
a study of the laws of hygiene becomes of the verjj 
highest importance. 

But in these considerations we must never lose 
sight of the fact that all these laws are but so 
many means for the gaining and preserving of 
perfect health; i. e., they are not ideals in or of 

1 An address before the Health Culture Club of New 
York, read at the meeting of Sunday, Jan. 98, 1906. 



themselves, any of them, but merely so many 
means by which we can regain and preserve our 
mental and physical equiUbrium; while (and this 
is a point which I wish particularly to emphasise, 
since it may seem to some a rather novel aspect 
of the case) health is not itself a real, ultimate 
idecij either I Good health is (or should be) 
sought only to enable us to perform our daily tasks 
and duties unhampered by physical disease; to 
reach our highest mental and spiritual attainment 
without the constant depressing influences and 
harrowing, soul-racking infirmities with which bad 
health and disease saddle us. Health is not an aim 
or an end in itself ; it is merely a condition — that 
condition which best enables us to perform, with the 
best possible results, whatever of life's duties it may 
be ours to undertake or attempt. 

Of course, if we are actually diseased; if we are 
not enjojring the best possible health; if we are 
oppressed and weighed down with some bodily 
infirmity, then health does become, for the time 
being, a real and ultimate end and aim — in fact 
the first and most important factor in our lives : for 
if we do not recover our health, we are not free 
to pursue our lives and achieve that which we set 
out to do; but once restored to good health, we 
should simply follow nature's laws — enabling us 
to remain in that condition — and then forget the 


body so far as possible. Health, once attained, 
should be used for the purposes of our daily life. 

The normal conditions having thus been re- 
stored, being free to develop ourselves along our 
chosen lines, the question now arises, What is it 
that we are to develop? What should be our ob- 
ject in life? In short, why are we here; for what 
reason are we living at all? These are the im- 
portant questions which I shall endeavour to answer 
— in part at least — in the present chapter; and 
though my manner of treating the subject may not 
meet with the approval of many of my readers, I 
trust that we shall in the end find ourselves in no 
lasting disagreement. 

As I conceive it, then, our personality is the 
thing we must consider, — the chief object of 
our life being to attain its greatest possible de- 
gree of development along some certain, definite 
line of work. This should be our true end and aim 
of life; but as I shall speak of this at greater 
length later on, I must be content for the present 
merely to state my position and to pass on to other, 
prior considerations. 

And first I would point out that before we can 
possibly achieve the greatest development of our 
personality, we must know something, at least, 
about it. We cannot possibly obtain the best re- 
sults from a machine about which we know nothing. 


and most certainly this is true of our mental and 
physical selves. So that our first consideration will 
be this of attempting to understand our * selves.' 
But just here I would point out that throughout 
all this we must be influenced by our conception 
of the character of our own personality — in what 
it consists — and this must, therefore, claim our at- 
tention before aught else. 

Our outlook, then, will be coloured by this con- 
sideration: whether we consider ourselves the re- 
sultant of mere physical forces and so-called mat- 
ter — our mental and spiritual life being but the 
offshoot of these (this being the position of ma- 
terialism) — or as a spiritual essence or entity hav- 
ing persistence. Our entire viewpoint "^ill and 
must be altered by whichever of these views we 
adopt, for our philosophy of life must be shaped 
and built upon either one of these two positions. 
It accordingly becomes our duty to examine, 
briefly, each of them in turn, in order that we may 
arrive at some clear understanding of the problem 
before us. 

Now nearly everyone we meet grants himself 
to be a spiritual entity, and would indignantly re- 
pudiate the idea that he is a materialist or in 
any way materialistic in his outlook. Neverthe- 
less his idea of a future life is beyond question very 
vague, dim and uncertain; and above all, he 


takes no active, vital interest in the matter one way 
or the other.^ The man-in-the-street never — or 
hardly ever — allows these considerations to enter 
into his life at all; he accepts them, yet never al- 
lows them to interfere with or influence his daily 
life and his actions in the slightest degree. He 
utterly fails to see that the idea of continued sur- 
vival — of a future life — and of his making here 
and now the conditions of that life, must here and 
now shape his life and mould his ideas* He never 
allows the thought to be truly felt by him- 
self, or to influence his life in the least* On Sun- 
day, it is true, he attends church — more as a kind 
of social function or duty than because any truly 
religious spirit stirs him to go: but throughout 
the week his religion influences him and his life not 
a particle; he is blankly indifferent to both — a 
truth which Robert Louis Stevenson so forcibly 
pointed out in his beautiful " Christmas Sermon." 
He has, in fact, been living the life of the material- 
ist while professing to be a spiritualist (in the 
broadest sense of the term), and yet all the while 
he takes it for granted that he * has ' a soul, and 
that the fact is obvious and indisputable, and be- 

1 Prof. F. C. S. Schiller conclusively proved, by means of 
a statistical inquiry, how very indifferent the public, as 
such, is on this question. See his paper on '' Human Senti- 
ment as to a Future Life," Proceedings S. P. R., Vol. 
XVIII, pp. 416-53. 


comes highly offended if anyone, in the honest 
search for Truth, ventures to doubt that fact, upon 
what he considers good ground ! 

On the other hand — and as opposed to this 
hypocritical and bigoted and narrow outlook — 
the scientist has almost invariably made a close 
personal $tudy of this subject; and upon it he is 
far more entitled to a hearing than the average 
man or woman who has not taken the trouble to 
investigate the question at all — taking the whole 
thing for granted and settled. The scientist's re- 
searches do not, as many think, confine him to the 
investigation of * dead ' matter at all, but, if he is 
a philosophic scientist (as nearly all are bound to 
be nowadays), they will force him to consider the 
greatest problems of death and futurity, and to 
apply all his ability and ingenuity to an attempt 
to solve them. As the result of these investiga- 
tions he has often returned the verdict " Imimor- 
tality is a superstition — an impossibiUty ! *' 
And although he may not be ultimately right in 
this verdict, I would point out that he is neverthe- 
less entitled — not to sneers and ridicule as many 
think — but to praise for his painstaking care 
and zeal and earnestness in thus making a close, 
personal study and taking a vital mterest in those 
subjects which the man-in-the-street (who accepts 
a future life) does not take, and whose faith is 


such only, and not founded upon close study and 
personal and painstaking investigation, as is that 
of the scientist. 

Now the reason why so many (in fact the 
vast bulk) of the people accept a future life is, 
I believe, because they have never considered the 
scientific and philosophic objections to it — those 
reasons which, to the scientific mind, are stumbling 
blocks in the way of its acceptance. And since the 
man of science is, as a whole, most impartial and 
open-minded, and, since he has doubtless studied 
these questions more exhaustively and impartially 
than the man who accepts the whole question as set- 
tled before investigation, it behooves us at least to 
consider those objections which, to the man of sci- 
ence, are conclusive against any such possibility 
as a life hereafter. I cannot now, of course, even 
touch upon more than two or three of the leading 
and most important objections to the possibility of 
a future life; and in those cases but briefly. 

To many minds, then, the now all but universally 
accepted doctrine of evolution is a very great rea- 
son for our non-acceptance of any future life in 
any form; for on that theory our mental life is 
directly traceable to, and is but the higher develop- 
ment of, the mental life of the lower organisms — 
from which it has ascended by a gradual chain, 
a series of steps in the evolutionary process. And 


the mental life may be traced in a continuous, al- 
most unbroken chain, down, down the scale to the 
very lowest animal forms — aye, even into the 
vegetable world; and the vegetable life may be 
traced, ultimately, into the inorganic world — to 
dmple chemical reaction; so that the position of 
many scientific men is that there is no more reason to 
suppose that our own mental life continues to exist, 
and that we are entitled to * immortality,' than 
that all animal and vegetable life, and even chem- 
ical action, is entitled to ^ immortality.' ^ And this 
position is at least logical. y/ 

Another objection is found in the fact that our 
mental life is, beyond a doubt, so intimately bound 
up and associated with cerebral changes ; i. e.^ those 
nervous changes that take place in the brain sub- 
stance whenever we think. Mix poison with the 
blood of any individual and see how quickly his 
mental life will become unbalanced — even cease al- 
together (apparently) ; while we know that, in many 
types of disease, these same phenomena of mental 
derangement occur. Above all — and the most 
convincing argument to many minds — is the fact 
that we can, by surgical operation, remove a cer- 
tain portion of the brain-substance and with its 

iThis statement is hardly quite accurate; it represents 
only the very extreme school of which Professor Haeckel 
may perhaps be considered the most noted champion. — 


removal will vanish a certain section or part of our 
mental life. " Piece by piece, section by section, 
as the physical and obviously material brain is re- 
moved ; so bit by bit, and little by little, the mental 
life disappears, until not a vestige of it remains.*' ^ 
All this "most certainly tends to show that our 
conscious existence is absolutely dependent upon 
our very material brain." 

Finally, there is the objection that thought and 
cerebral changes are, apparently, so inseparably 
united that the one cannot possibly exist without 
the other. For every thought we think, for every 
mood, emotion or fact of consciousness, there is, 
corresponding to it, a certain definite change in the 
brain tissue ; and that that correspondence and cor- 
relation has now been established beyond doubt, 
(here can be no question. We must accept it a» a 
proved fact, whatever view we adopt of oiur men- 
tal life and the possibility of its persistence. But 
this being the case, the materialist might, and in- 
deed does say, **Well, since this equivalence and 
correlation is always present, what proof have we 
that mental states or so-called consciousness can ex- 
ist apart from such cerebral changes? That is, 
when the brain ceases to exercise its functions, as it 
most certainly does at death, what proof have we 

iSee Chapter V on "The Origiii and Nature of Con- 
Bdousnessy" bdaw» pp. 114-78. 


that our mental life continues to exist ; in fact how 
can it, since, in this life, it is always bound up with 
and inseparable from these cerebral changes? '* In 
fact the whole question can be resolved into this: 
When the brain ceases to exercise its functions, 
what evidence have we that the consciousness con- 
tinues to exist? And if we have no such evi- 
dence, then the presumption is certainly all against 
our accepting such a thing as a future life of any 
sort; for, since there is no positive evidence that 
such i« the case, and since consciousness cannot, 
apparently, exist apart from the functioning of 
nerve-tissue, then the idea of a future life must 
remain an unproved dream, a figment of the imag- 
ination, which the man of science must conse- 
quently reject; and this position is, it appears to 
me, a perfectly logical and conclusive one, so far 
as it goes. 

If this position is ever to be overthrown, there- 
fore, the evidence must be scientific evidence, and 
the reasons produced facts, since no amount 
of theorising and no religious faith can possibly 
influence the mind of the man of science, to whom 
facts and evidence alone appeal. If immortality 
is to be proved, therefore, the man of science must 
be met upon his own ground and definite facts 
and evidence produced which will offset those ad- 
vanced by the materialist •— such as will definitely 


establish, upon scientific grounds, the possibility of 
man's survival of bodily death; and this evidence 
can only come from such facts as will tend to show 
that consciousness does continue to exist after 
death — where most certainly there is no brain 
functioning for it to be associated with. If, there- 
fore, we can produce certain facts and evidence 
which seem to prove the operations of a conscious- 
ness actively at work, and most certainly not con- 
nected with any material brain, tl^en we shall 
have the right kind of evidence to take before the 
materialist, and we can say to him, " Here is the 
evidence you seek; here are certain recorded facts 
that tend to show that consciousness cam, exist 
apart from brain-function, and consequently that 
immortality is not only possible, but certain and 
demonstrable." And I must insist again upon the 
fact that this is the only kind of evidence that will 
ever be received by the scientific world as proof of 
man's survival and of immortality. It is, in fact, 
the only proof conceivable. ^ 

Now in the phenomena of psychical research 
we find (and only here can we ever find) such evi- 
dence ; for in these phenomena we have certain facts 
brought before us which can certainly be explained 
very readily upon the assumption that the con- 
sciousness producing the facts or furnishing the 
evidence is still existent, and are apparently most 


hard, if not impossible, to explain in any other 
manner. Into the quality and quantity and char- 
acter of this evidence I cannot go here. Almost 
all readers are probably too well aware of the gen- 
eral phenomena and results of psychical research 
to render such a detailed exposition necessary, 
dealing as it does with supernormal mental states 
and conditions: trance-mediumship, clairvoyance, 
telepathy, dreams, apparitions, haunted houses and 
the like. Such phenomena as these, carefully 
studied, have supplied us with an abundance of in- 
formation and of facts which, while they bear out 
the spiritistic interpretation, certainly seem hard 
to reconcile with the materialistic hypothesis. 
They do, in short, present us with certain evidence 
pointing, at least, to the conclusion that here, in 
such phenomena, is the evidence — here are the 
facts required — to prove beyond reasonable doubt 
the fact that consciousness does and must exist 
apart from brain-function, by producing such evi- 
dence as will render the acceptance of that truth 
unavoidable; and if such a definite and final con- 
cliision has not yet been reached, it can only be said 
that, in future years, such a proof seems well within 
the bounds of possibility ; and as this is, as I have 
stated, the only conceivable evidence that can ever 
be forthcoming in proof of a future life, I must 
insist upon the vast importance of the study, and 


upon the necessity of patiently and calmly and un- 
ceasingly investigating these phenomena, realis- 
ing that such an investigation, so far from deserv- 
ing the scoffs and sneers of the public, is in one 
sense ** the most important investigation in the 
world," as Gladstone so well said many years ago, 
" by far the most important," since they form, 
as has been repeatedly pointed out, the bridge, and 
the only bridge possible, between the religious and 
the scientific worlds. 

And this evidence for a super-physical and 
spiritual world which the phenomena of psychical 
research furnish us, the fact that such phenom- 
ena are constantly here and now happening 
in our very midst, gives us a vivid impression of 
the nearness, the presence, the alHnclusiveness of 
such a world, and a sense of its nearness and reality 
which few, if any, religious systems can furnish 
or equal. This world which we thus come into 
touch with, this inner, causal world may, after all, 
be the real or * noumenal ' world of which we but 
perceive the phenomena, the effects, the shadows; 
and that this Is very probably true, at heart, is 
certainly borne out and rendered most credible by 
the general acceptance of the philosophic system 
known as idealism — a very brief outline of which 
I shall give here, as it is essential for our argu- 


It can readily be shown, and that without go- 
ing further than the province of physiology, 
that the world we see and know and live in is 
not the real, outer world of physical things and 
events at all, — which world we do not, in reality, 
ever see or know or come in touch with; «. ^., we 
never can or do see the realf physical world! At 
first sight this may appear rather a sweeping, 
if not a ridiculous statement, but that this is 
the truth can be readily proved as follows. When 
I look at and apparently " see " a physical object, 
what really happens is something like this. Ether 
(light) waves passing from the object to my eye 
have caused the eye to vibrate, and this vibration, 
reaching the optic nerve through the vibration of 
the vitreous humour of the eyeball, causes a nerve- 
current to be set in motion, which travels along the 
optic nerve, reaching tiltimately the centre of 
sight in the rear of the brain, where a certain brain- 
change takes place (just what we are imable to say, 
but probably some sort of nerve vibration), and 
correspondmg to this change and coincidental with 
it is the sensation of sight — of the object at which 
we happen to be looking at the time. But this 
brain-change is not itself the object looked at, but 
merely its counterpart, or duplicate, or symbol; 
ymd therefore for every object we ** see" there is 
and must be this corresponding brain-change, 


varying with and corresponding to the various ob- 
jects seen. There is thus a series or succession of 
brain-changes, corresponding point for point with 
the outer, external objects seen, of which they 
are merely the symbols. But the mental -state, 
the thought, does not in any case correspoml with 
and to the external object, but with the brain- 
change (see p. 131); with this it corresponds, 
with this it is intimately connected; and, if the 
mind can be said to see any physical thing in the 
world, so to speak, it is the brain-change and not 
the object! But the brain-changes are, so far as 
we can see, as entirely dissimilar from the external 
object as possible; they are merely its counterparts, 
or symbols, as I have before stated. So that we 
do in reality live altogether in a world of symbols 
^an inner, duplicate, mental world — which is 
thus the only world we do or ever can know.^ So 

i"That these objects [i. e,, the objects we sec and 
know] are nothing but mental modifications may be dem- 
onstrated, so to speak, ad ocvXos, Suppose I am looking at 
a candle; the candle I am conscious of is a mental modifi- 
cation. How may I convince myself of the fact? By the 
simple process of closing my eyes. Something then ceases 
to exist. Is it the real candle? Certainly not. Then it 
must be the mental duplicate. By successively opening and 
closing my eyes I may create and annihilate the perceived 
candle. But the real candle continues unchanged. Then 
what I am immediately conscious of when my eyes are open 
must be the mental duplicate. If an original of that dupli- 
cate exists outside the mind, it must be other than the candle 
I perceive, and itself unperceived." — Prof. G. Strongs Whf 
the Mind Has a Body, p. 186. 


that — and this is the practical conclusion I wish 
to reach and point out to you — we all live in 
an inner, mental world which is but the symbol 
of the outer world, and which each one of us must 
subjectively construct within himself. 

The certain conclusion from this chain of ar- 
gument is that each one of us constructs with- 
in himself the world he lives in — which is, so 
far as he is concerned, the only, or real world. 
Thus, we Kterally make or create our own worlds 
— the world we live in — in the very fullest sense 
of the term: we Kve in our own created world — 
the world we have made for ourselves. And, if 
this is so, theriy I suggest (since we can thus in- 
fluence its construction) we might just as well 
make for ourselves a good, cheerful, happy world 
as a bad, gloomy, unhappy one — • since the pro- 
cess of construction must evidently enter into the 
problem. Our mental world obviously does not 
only correspond point for point with the outer 
world that exists ; for if it did, then all minds must 
necessarily be the same, and there would '*be no 
^personal factor' in the world; but since we 
know that individuals do not, at any time, see 
things precisely alike, there must be a personal or 
individual factor entering into the case also; and 
(his individual factor colours or shapes our mental 
world, causing it to differ* in each one of us. 


How far this process of colouration and shaping 
goes is readily seen when we look around upon, 
the world and see the varied types of individuals, 
and how widely different are men and women of 
every age and clime, — aye, even those of the same 
land, the same city, house, family ! Thus the pro- 
cess of colouration or individualisation becomes the 
most important factor in our lives, and, in short, 
determines our character and forms our true 

One practical conclusion follows from all this 
— a conclusion of most fundamental and of great 
importance. It is this: According to the view- 
point we assume does the world change; i, e.9 we 
can alter or reconstruct the world we live in to suit 
ourselves^ and make it what we wUl. Now that is 
a consideration of truly immense importance, for 
we can see that, in order to reconstruct our lives 
and live a happier, better, more contented life, we 
have not to change the worlds but the viewpoint; 
and when once this has been done the world will 
assume its normal aspect ; things will become prop- 
erly adjusted, and happiness and harmony, instead 
of misery and discord, will ensue! How funda- 
mentally important is this consideration is well il- 
lustrated in that class of facts in which the coloura- 
tion and viewpoint are so tremendously important 
and all-inclusive as apparently to obliterate the 


outer-world phenomena altogether, and even 
change the course of those phenomena, causing 
them to pursue some course, or achieve some end 
which they would not otherwise do; and that is a 
very important consideration for us indeed. This 
aspect of the problem is well brought out and il* 
lustrated by Prof. William James in his Will to 
Believe (p. 96-7), where he says: 

^ Suppose, for example, that I am climbing in 
the Alps, and have had the ill-luck to work myself 
into a position from which the only escape is by a 
terrible leap. Being without similar experience I 
have no evidence of my ability to perform it suc- 
cessfully ; but hope and confidence in myself make 
me sure I shall not miss my aim and nerve my 
feet to execute what without those subjective emo- 
tions would perhaps have been impossible. But 
suppose that, on the contrary, the emotions of fear 
and mistrust preponderate; or suppose that, hav- 
ing just read the Ethics of Belief y I feel it would 
be sinful to act upon an assumption unverified by 
previous experience — why, then I shall hesitate 
so long that at last, exhausted and trembling, and 
launching myself in a moment of despair, I miss 
my foothold and roll into the abyss. In this case 
(and it is one of an immense class) the part of 
wisdom clearly is to believe what one desires; for 
the belief is one of the indispensable preliminary 


conditions of the realisation of its object. There 
are then cases where faith creates its own verifica- 
tion. Believe, and you shall be right, for you shall 
save yourself; doubt, and you shall again be right, 
for you shall perish. The only dilBTerence is that 
to believe is greatly to your advantage.'' 

The practical consequences of all this are im- 
mense. If faith can thus create its own verifica- 
tion, where can we draw the line? How limit its 
power for the fulfilment of worthy ambitions and 
achievements which would otherwise be impossi- 
ble? Viewed from this standpoint, they may not 
be impossible at all, but well within the possibil- 
ity of achievement ; while, if we could get a larger 
mental grasp of things, we might see that all oiir 
set-backs and reverses are not such in reality, but 
only temporary trials and obstacles to be overcome 
— which may be, indeed, the very best thing that 
could possibly happen to us, could we but see the 
proper relations of that fact or happening to others 
that have gone before or are about to follow. I 
thus conceive that a " scientific optimism " is quite 
possible, and that the old saying *' All is good " may 
be ultimately quite true, and may be proved to be 
so from future experience as well as from philoso- 
phy. And If it is possible, it is certainly alto- 
gether desirable, both for the individual and for 
those coming into close, personal contact with him, 


since a happier and better life does not alto- 
gether limit its influence to the individual living it, 
but reacts, perforce, on all those who are closely, 
associated with him. The only difficulty is in real- 
ising the position that all may ultimately be for 
the best, could we but see things in their proper 
Kght and judge them with the eye of foreknowl- 
edge and greater understanding. The great 
trouble with us is that we cannot, at the time any 
fevent is happening, see the relations of that event 
to others that are to follow — only the event itself ; 
in that we are swallowed up and absorbed. And 
if this larger mental viewpoint or judgment were 
possible, I am assured that our ultimate judgments 
of many of life's happenings would be very differ- 
ent — we looking upon them as blessings, rather 
than curses ; as the inevitable consequences of trans- 
gressed law, rather than as * dispensations of 
Heavien ; ' as trials to be overcome for our own ul- 
timate good, rather than as useless and altogether 
•harmful events and occurrences that have taken 
place in our lives. To a larger, enveloping con- 
sciousness this may, indeed, be the light in which 
these things are seen, and the event arranged 
for the purpose, and with the object, of our 
best ultimate benefit, though not suited and 
adapted, perhaps, to our limited and narrow 
outlook. And that such an overshadowing, all- 


inclusiye consciousness — call it God or what you 
will — is at least a possibility cannot be over- 
looked or dismissed as a scientific absurdity* As 
Professor James so well expressed it (The WiU to 
Believe, pp, 67-8) : ** That the world of physics is 
probably not absolute, all the converging multitude 
of arguments that make in favour of idealism tend 
to prove ; and that our whole physical life may lie 
soaking in a spiritual atmosphere, a dimension of 
being that we at present have no organ for appre- 
hending, is vividly suggested to us by the analogy 
of the life of our domestic animals. Our dogs, for 
example, are in our human life but not of it. 
They witness hourly the outward body of events 
whose inner meaning cannot, by any possible oper- 
ation, be revealed to their intelligence, — events in 
which they themselves often play the cardinal part. 
My terrier bites a teasing boy, for example, and 
the father demands damages. The dog may be 
present at every step of the negotiations, and see 
the money pAid, without an inkhng of what it all 
means, without a suspicion that it has anything 
to do with him; and he never can know in his nat- 
ural dog's life." 

To elaborate Professor James' idea a little fur- 
ther: just as the dog's consciousness is contained in 
ours, but we perceive, at the same time, many psy- 
chological surroundings, meanings and relations to 


the actual events, which the dog cannot possibly 
see, so may our own consciousness be included and 
surrounded by a vaster, cosmic consciousness, which 
includes our own and much that we cannot possibly 
know because of our limitations. 

That some events, at least, now happening and 
apparently altogether evil and harmful, may in 
the end prove of the very greatest benefit to our- 
selves is again suggested to us by the following 
analogy* A dog has imbedded in his paw a 
splinter, the removal of which is a painful opera- 
tion. Knowing that it must be removed, however, 
we hold the dog forcibly and have the splinter re- 
moved — to his ultimate benefit, of course. But 
during the operation, when the pain was at its 
height, the dog could not possibly be supposed to 
know that this was ^^ for his own good," and to him 
it must have seemed a very brutal and altogether 
evil experience. But to us, who see — not only 
the happening itself, but its future consequences 
and relations; to our consciousness/^ which in- 
cludes not only the dog's, but a great deal be- 
sides, the event appears in an altogether different 
light, and we perceive the ultimate effects to be 
not detrimental and evil, but beneficial and the best 
thing that could possibly happen. And so it may 
be with ourselves. To a larger, more far-seeing 
consciousness, the events which seem evil to us 


may ultimately appear to be those which are for 
our greatest benefit, and of the greatest assistance 
to our true progress. 

Taking this more inclusive and larger point 
of view, then, we come to see the pettiness, 
the littleness of many of life's happenings, the 
things we quarrel over and deem at the time to be 
of such vast importance. These very things may, 
and doubtless ttnll, ultimately prove to be of the 
very least significance and worth ; in fact, when once 
possessed, they may prove actually undesirable if 
not actively detrimental. Take, for example, 
money. Money does not bring happiness, nor 
health, nor anything of real worth in life ; in fact 
often the reverse, as has been confirmed by many 
men who possess it. But apart from their testi- 
mony, consider what must be the feelings of any 
sensitive, intuitive man or woman who happens to 
be immensely wealthy, and who sees around him the 
crowds of men and women — ^ friends ' — cluster- 
ing as the bees about the hive! Would not his 
thoughts be, " Do these men and women like me, 
or do they like my money? If I were poor, would 
they still cleave to me for myself, my own indi- 
viduality? Or do they like me because of what 
they can extract from me, in one form or an- 
other? " Would not such thoughts as these make 
life bitter, taking from it all its charm and spon- 


taneity and sweetness? The constant worry and 
uncertainty must be ^ hell on earth ' indeed to such 
poor (literedly poor) souls! Are we not, almost 
all of us, better and happier without this money for 
which the whole world strives? Is it not a false 
ideal — a false goal? And may not much greater 
happiness be experienced without than with it? 
That degeneracy and inability to do good work — 
the work of genius — often goes with fame and 
the inheritance of large sums of money is too well 
realised to insist upon here ; it is made the central 
theme of Marie Corelli's truly fine book, The 
Sorrows of Satcm. And as a final reflection I 
would point out that we do, in America, judge 
all a man's abilities by his money-making ability. 
His other qualities and qualifications we heed not 
at all, be he ever so great a man ; but if he is an 
adept at gaining money (honestly or dishonestly) 
then he is a ' clever ' man, forsooth ! And yet this 
ability to make money will surely be rated the very 
lowest in the scale when the ultimate summing-up 
shall follow. 

The whole viewpoint and position toward the 
question is wrong, I think, in this: that we can- 
not, as it is generally supposed, add happiness 
from without, — since we must find that with- 
in ourselves; it must well up from the core of 
our being. Just as we cannot add vitality to our-^ 


selves from without, but can only * clear the 
ground,' so to speak, for its free operation from 
within; ^ just as we cannot force another soul to 
perceive Truth (the recognition of which must, 
come from within — all facts and arguments 
merely * clearing the way ' of obstructions existing 
between the seer and the Truth), just so must all 
real happiness come from within ourselves ; it must 
well up from within us, and cannot possibly be 
forced in or supplied from without. Each individ- 
ual must thus make and form his own mental life, 
and must colour it as he may, according to the de- 
gree of understanding and intuitive grasp of his 

And thus, as the result of this long preamble, 
we arrive at the true viewpoint in this matter, 
-—in perceiving that we can make ourselves, in 
the truest sense of the term, and that we can, 
in reality, create our own world and become the in- 
dividual we choose to be. Our whole future, then, 

1 " "We cannot force plants to grow with greater rapidity 
k . . all we can do is to supply the conditiont (heat, 
moisture, sunlight, and the proper amount of nutriment) 
that are most ntvourable for the growth of the plant. The 
conditions being supplied, growth becomes more easily pos- 
sible; but it will be observed we are not actually adding to 
the life-force of the plant, but merely supplying the condi- 
tions that render the outward manifestations of this life- 
force more favourable. The force, the energy of growth is 
inherent, and the absurdity of trying to force or 'manu- 
facture' this energy should be apparent" — Vitality, FasU 
ing and Nutrition, p. 96S. 


rests not on some ^ Divine Providence,' but in our 
own hands; we must ourselves achieve any great 
results that are achieved, any ambitions that 
are fulfilled. What, then, is the object of life? 
For what reason are we living? What should we 
do with our lives, in short? For my own part, I 
think that some definite and lastingly beneficial 
tffork — achievement of some kind along some cer- 
tain line — is our life's duty, and that this is the 
great and the final end and aim of life — viz., the 
accomplishment of some set purpose through per- 
sistent and continued work. And in considering 
the matter, it appears more and more obvious, I 
think, that this should be so. For what purpose 
do we need rest and sleep and food other than to 
recuperate and refresh and strengthen us for the la- 
bours of the morrow? Do we not simply recharge 
ourselves with energy thereby for the purpose of 
fitting ourselves for more and better work? And 
in this connection, the true meaning and the phi- 
losophy of recreation become clear to us also. As 
Felix Adler so well said (Religion of Duty, p. 
164lr): '* Pleasure is intended as a recreation, a 
cordial. We cannot do our work well if we are 
relaxed, heavy and dull, surely not so well as when 
our faculties are at their bri^itest, and when we go 
about our tasks full of cheer, freshness and vigour. 
Pleasure ie jtutified to the extent that it renders 


men more efficient xeorkers" And this, it seems to 
me, is an absolutely true statement. The main 
thing in life is the work (not money-getting be it 
understood, which I consider purely subsidiary, 
and necessary only as a means for preserving life 
while the life's real work is being accomplished) 
^— this definite object which we should all have, 
and the accomplishment of which must be our sole 
aim and end and purpose ; that, 1 conceive, is our 
life's true goal, and, as compared with the accom- 
plishment of that ideal, all else is really insignifi- 

Thus it will be seen, I think, that the individ- 
ual is quite secondary and unimportant as com- 
pared with the achievement and completion of his 
life's true work. So long as this is thoroughly 
and well accomplished, I think that the individual 
should be quite willing to be sacrificed — to suffer 
his own insignificant personality to become obliter- 
ated, if needs be, for the good of the himian race, 
and especially for those near and dear to him. 
Compared with the remits of a man's life the man 
himself is, and should consider himself, quite unim- 
portant, and as constituting merely the means to a 
great end — the work achieved. I say he should 
be willing to sacrifice himself; not that he TWtist 
necessarily do so. Provided a man keeps himself 
in good health, there is absolutely no reason why 


be should not produce a great amount of good 
work and live a long and a happy life as well — 
" a long life and a merry one," in fact. There is 
no reason, I say, why these should not be combined 
into one human lifetime, and I think they should 
be so combined. For we know that in giving we 
often experience the greatest happiness, and that 
unselfishness often recoils in our own favour, and 
that we invariably find good and happiness in so 
sacrificing that which we hold dear; and so long 
as we are producing good results — the fruit of 
good work — I think we shall never feel the need of 
other, external sources of happiness, or of those 
things which the majority crave. As Horace 
Fletcher so well said: "Happiness is the result 
of conscious usefulness '* — a statement as exquisite 
as it is true. Each one of us, then, should take up 
some definite line of work — "one which he or she 
thinks most fitted to his or her particular bent and 
life — and follow that work persistently, conscien- 
tiously, unswervingly. No matter what the line 
of work may be — so long as it is honourable — it 
is bound to bring good into the world and happi- 
ness to the person accomplishing it. Having in 
mind, then, those things which are of real worth 
in life (and bearing in mind that this life is not the 
end of all things, so far as we are concerned, but 
merely the very smallest fraction of our Life — as 


it will doubtless ultimately prove to be), we should 
choose and begin some definite work — the accom- 
plishment of which should be our life's chief duty 
— before which all else pales into insignificance, all 
else must be sacrificed; and in thus striving, and 
perhaps achieving, we shall find happiness and 
health and true Life. 



AMONG men of scientific repute, and especially 
among psychologists, no question of late 
years has given rise to such bitter contests, to such 
strong partisan feeling, as the legitimacy for se- 
rious study of certain more or less sporadic 
phenomena termed ** psychic/' By " psychical re- 
search," as herein defended, is meant certain res- 
idual phenomena which are as yet unrecognised by 
any of the official sciences ; whose very existence is, 
in fact, doubted by a large number of scientific 
men. The existing differences of opinion are only 
natural, but when we come to examine the reasons 
upon which the sceptic founds his doubts and res- 
ervations, we find them generally invalid, and it is 
the purpose of this chapter to examine the objec- 
tions themselves. But that they should be open 
to doubt at all, if actually existing, is, to some 
persons, an irreconcilable drawback to their inves- 
tigation. It seems to show that they are uncertain, 
shifting, uncontrollable, and not subject to the scien- 
tifically exact methods of laboratory experiment 
prevailing at the present day. This uncertainty 
is largely due, first, to the fact that here, unlike 



any other scientific investigation in this respect, 
fraud frequently enters into the question of evi- 
dence, and has to be carefully excluded before any 
deductions from the facts observed can be drawn; 
second, because, even considering the genuine phe- 
nomena, we are principally coping with that most 
unstable and uncertain " quantity ^ — the human 
mind. When we are dealing, not with carbon and 
hydrogen, but with emotions and moods, we are 
on far more debatable ground, in far more uncer- 
tain surroundings than science, as such, is accus- 
tomed to debate. Indeed, comparatively nothing 
is known in reality about these mental phenomena, 
even by the " orthodox psychologists ; " the whole 
subject is enveloped in a cloud of exasperating ob- 
scurity, and, such being the case, it is certainly un- 
reasonable that the outlying, and perhaps still 
more obscure phenomena, such €is trance, clairvoy- 
ance, telepathy, etc., should meet with d priori re- 
jection and ridicule, instead of diligent study and 
research. It is the above-named subjects then, to- 
gether with such other debatable phenomena as ap- 
paritions at the moment of death, second-sight, pre- 
monitions, phantasms of the dead, and haunted 
houses, together with the wide range of spiritistic 
phenomena, which form the basis of this research; 
a " new science " as Sir Oliver Lodge has said. 
The opposition to any strikingly new idea; the 


natural tendency to cling to long-seated dogin£U3 
and prejudices, as distinguished from the perfectly 
legitimate scientific caution with which every par- 
tially demonstrated theory is received, all these 
tend to arouse doubts and to promote antagonistic 
ideas from the man of science. Looked at from 
the other side of the question, however, it is some- 
what surprising to find that in an age which has 
produced so many brilliant " free-thinkers " along 
theological and other lines of inquiry — it is some- 
what surprising, I say, to find so few men who are 
liberal enough to take up the investigation of 
these subjects in a perfectly candid and unbiased 
frame of mind ; to be willing, at the cost of a mtic 
time and trouble, to sift the matter thoroughly, 
and to find what truth, if any, is contained therein. 
No call is made upon their credulity, no " ac- 
ceptance of any particular explanation of the phe- 
nomena investigated, nor any belief as to the opera- 
tion, in the physical world, of forces other than 
those recognised by physical science." The only 
plea entered by those who defend these subjects is 
that they should be investigated, and not merely 
scoffed at upon d prion grounds, and without any 
knowledge either of the strength or the character 
of the evidence attacked. 

Surely no scientifically minded man can object to 
these conditions. " Investigate for yourself ; form 


your own opinions ; by no means trust entirdy to- 
the evidence presented by others : " this has almost 
invariably been the advice of psychical researchers, 
and, be it added in fairness to them, of the spiritists 
also. And that scientific men have investigated 
these questions, and that the vast majority of those 
who have done so have become convinced that at 
least occasionally phenomena occur which are not 
dreamed of in our scientific philosophy, — this also 
is a matter of historical record. Dr. Alfred Rus- 
sel Wallace has, in fact, declared that '* the whole 
history of science shows us that, whenever the edu- 
cated and scientific men of any age have denied the 
facts of other investigators on d priori grounds of 
absurdity or impossibility, the deniers have always 
been wrongJ* ^ 

Without going quite so far as Dr. Wallace 
has done in his somewhat sweeping, but generally 
true statement, it is certain that the history of 
scientific research is most dolefully bespattered 
with records of almost ftmatical scepticism. The 
astronomers of Galileo's time, who knew that he 
was hopelessly wrong, yet refused even to put 
their eyes to his telescope — ^^ for fear of be- 
ing convinced ; " the sceptical M.D. who " does 
not believe that any spirit can come back, because 

lA. R. Wallace^ Miracles and Modem SpirUualistn, pp. 


he does not believe that there is any such thing 
as a spirit to come back " (we shall return to this 
argument later on) ; the skilled geologist who de- 
clares (apropos of meteors) that '* there are no 
stones in the air, consequently none can fedl out of 
the air" — these are but a few examples of the 
melancholy list which it would be no great task to 
compile, all illustrating human error, prejudice and 

But in pointing out these defects and mistakes 
made by scientific men, it must not be supposed 
that science, or scientific method itself, is at fault 
— far from it. It is to science that we owe what- 
ever progress has been made towards a solution 
of the various ** riddles of the universe ; " and 
strictly scientific method and rigorous logic are 
only neglected by those who are incapable of un- 
derstanding and properly appreciating their value. 
The blatant credulity and astonishing ignorance 
displayed by many of those following various spir- 
itualistic creeds cannot be appreciated until seen. 
Their utter contempt for anything constituting 
valid evidence is simply amazing. But again, be- 
tween these two entirely opposite classes — which 
I have painted in somewhat vivid colours to make 
the contrast the clearer — there are, happily, va- 
rious intermediate stages, any one of which it is 
perfectly legitimate to defend, and which are, in 


fact, defended by men of eminently scientific re- 
pute, ranging from the complete believers (Wal- 
lace) to the equally complete disbelievers (Haeckel). 
And if this be so, the question is : How is it possible 
for the student to distinguish between these various 
theories, and to obtain an unbiased review of the 
facts and the arguments both pro and con? The 
answer to this, of course, would be: first, experi- 
ment for yourself, and secondly, read, without 
bias, the standard books upon this subject.^ 

But, it may be objected, this will take much 
time, and how am I to know whether, having done 
all this, I shall be rewarded by anything at the 
other end? In a field where imposture and credu- 
lity run riot, as they most certainly do here, is it 
worth while for scientific men to devote their time 
to such dubious work as this, when it can most cer- 
tainly be spent profitably in following up their 
more orthodox scientific studies? What guarantee 
is there of anything obtainable in this work — 
anything, that is, of practical value? One can 
hardly expect men like the late Lord Kelvin and 
Thomas Huxley to go running about the country 
investigating disturbances in " haunted houses " 
which turn out to be caused by rats and the wind 
in old water pipes ; to spend hours sitting round a 

1 Especially the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical 


table in the dark for the pleasure of exposing some 
humbug juggler! On the whole, it appears to be 
mostly rubbish, and I cannot afford to waste my 
time making prolonged investigations of it ! 

These arguments, employed, €is they are, by the 
majority of scientific men to-day, and self -satisfy- 
ing as they may be to the speaker, are yet lamen- 
tably weak when analysed. How are we to know 
if there be truth in any question without prolonged 
investigation? Whether inexplicable phenomena 
do or do not occur in certain cases, is simply a mat- 
ter of evidence; and that there is much good evi- 
dence for their occurrence in many instances is be- 
yond question. The facts are there ; the interpre- 
tation of those facts is another question. 

Now, taking the whole range of psychical re- 
search into consideration, it is somewhat difficult to 
determine exactly the grounds for objection which 
the scientific man will choose. If I should go to 
some "orthodox" psychologist, or physician, or 
physicist, and pointedly ask him, "What are 
your objections to the serious study of these phe- 
nomena? Why do you despise them, and deem 
them unworthy of credence? What are your rea- 
sons for refusing to study these subjects? And, 
more than all, why do you ridicule them, or ignore 
them altogether?" his answer would probably be: 

Because they are altogether unworthy of serious 



study; there is no respectable evidence In support 
of any of them — none at all beyond that of a 
few hysterical and credulous persons; the whole 
thing is obviously humbug and rubbish from be- 
ginning to end, and I don't want to waste my time 
over it! " ^ Or, again, the objections may be on 
theological or orthodo:^ grounds; or, it may be 
urged that this inquiry fosters superstition, or 
encourages fraudulent practices, or that their study 
tends to induce abnormal and morbid conditions, 
detrimental alike to both health and morals. As 
all these objections seem to carry weight in the 
public mind, though their complete lack of all 
foundation may be easily seen by anyone thor- 
oughly conversant with these subjects, I shall pro- 
ceed to answer them one by one, being as brief as 
possible in each case. 


The conflict between science and religion is 
bound, in the natural order of events, finally to re- 
sult in the complete triumph of science as opposed 
to the crude speculations of many centuries ago. 
It is a notorious fact that the Church has always 

1 All this, it will be observed, is purely d priori, and wiD 
be considered under that section. It is a sample of the 
class of objections which the writer has often heard, how- 
ever, and which show wilful prejudice and ignorance of tfaia 


been opposed to new discoveries, to scientific ad- 
vance; in fact to the enlightenment and education 
of the masses in any form. That there should ever 
have been such a thing at all as a ^^ conflict between 
science and religion " is, in itself, a most foul blot 
upon the history of religion and a slur upon man's 
reason and independence of thought — ^as it neces- 
sarily indicates opposition to progress. Those 
very persons who are the most bigoted and rabid 
in their defence of the Bible miracles are, strangely 
enough, the very ones who oppose most vehemently 
all modem evidence upon the same subject. If 
these extraordinary events ever occurred, it surely is 
reasonable to suppose that they should continue to 
do so, in more or less the same form; for the old 
idea of a miracle — that it was a " direct interven- 
tion on the part of providence '* or a " suspension 
of the laws of nature '* — is absolutely discredited 
by all thinking men of the present day. This is 
not saying that no unaccountable phenomena took 
place to give rise to these stories. It is highly 
probable that supernormal ^ phenomena did exist ; 
that is, natural phenomena, the causes for which are 
as yet unknown. But the evidence for the newer 

1 The word " supernormal *' has, for some time past, been 
used by the Society for Psychical Research to take the 
place of the meaningless term '* supernatural," it being 
claimed that whatever happens is natural — be it even the 
intervention of spirits. 


" miracles " is infinitely superior to the old, and 
that the former should be discredited and the latter 
blindly accepted is beyond the comprehension of 
the present writer. The credulity and ignorance 
of the masses on religious topics is simply amazing; 
yet their blas£ attitude towards the vital questions 
of death and futurity is beyond a doubt, unless 
one should happen to step upon some orthodox 
com! A perusal of Haeckel's Riddle of the Uni- 
verse ^ for example, would do the majority of per- 
sons a world of good. " What such persons most 
need," as Prof. William James has justly said, " is 
that their faiths should be broken up and venti- 
lated; that the northwest wind of science should 
get into them and blow their sickliness and bar- 
barism away." ^ 

Finally, it is urged, " What is the use of seek- 
ing? You will find nothing. Such things are 
God's secrets, which he keeps to himself." And to 
this M. Flammarion rightly answers : " There al- 
ways have been people who liked ignorance better 
than knowledge. By this kind of reasoning (had 
men acted upon it) nothing would ever have been 
known of this world. . . . It is the mode of 
reasoning adopted by those who do not care to 
think for themselves, and who confide to directors 
(so called) the charge of controlling their con- 

1 The Will to Believe, and Other Eeeays, p. x. 


sciences." ^ *' Faith," as Dr. Hyslop has reminded 
us,^ " no longer charms with her magic wand, ex- 
cept among those who do not accept or appreciate 
scientific method, but whose flimsy standards afford 
no criteria for defence against illusion and decep- 
tion. Hence men who have been saturated, con- 
sciously or unconsciously, with the scientific spirit, 
either give up the hereafter or insist that their be- 
lief shall have other credentials than authority." 
Finally, that there should be any laws or phenom- 
ena which it is illegitimate to study is utterly in- 
credible, and that men should take this stand at 
the present day is a sign of the most narrow- 
minded bigotry, and utterly unworthy of the scien- 
tific spirit of the age in which we live. 


This objection, I take it, has a certain amount of 
force, and is, to some extent, a valid one. That 
many superstitions are kept alive ; that almost un- 
bounded credulity exists among various spiritis- 
tic sects, and that a faith in all sorts of vagaries 
is maintained by the flood of so-called " psychic " 
literature upon the market — all this is undoubtedly 
true. But it does not necessarily follow, as many 

1 1%0 Unknown, p. vii. 

^Proceedings Society for Psychical Research, VoL XVI, 
p. i}89. 


think, that everyone who takes up the investiga- 
tion of these subjects seriously is more or less de- 
mented! It all depends upon the cast of mind of 
the individual; and there is absolutely no reason 
why these subjects should not be investigated in 
precisely the same scientific spirit as any other 
problem whatever. The present writer regards 
the question of a future life or " spirit return *' 
as purely a matter of evidence, and its solution 
a problem for experimental psychology to settle as 
much as the nature of the earth's centre is a prob- 
lem for geologists, or, to be more prosaic, the 
composition of table-salt is one for the attention 
of chemists. Nor is there any reason why the one 
should not be investigated in precisely the same 
calm, cool, scientific spirit as the other, the prin- 
cipal difficulty being simply that in one case we 
are dealing with far less known and more uncertain 
phenomena than in the other. That a large num- 
ber of persons have been grossly deceived, and 
that others have, to a certain extent, lost their 
reason while dwelling upon these problems, argues 
nothing more than that these particular individ- 
uals lacked a certain balance of mind, a scientific 
cast of character which rendered them, unfortu- 
nately, incapable of investigating these partic- 
ular subjects without detriment to themselves; but 
the fault here lies obviously with the investigator 


and not with the subject-matter investigated. It 
is my contention that if these same individuals 
had happened to become interested in any other 
branch of science than the psychic, precisely the 
same thing would have happened. It must not be 
forgotten, in this relation, that many men have 
become insane by long brooding over problems 
which are now classed among the most " ortho- 
dox" of sciences, viz., physics.^ The individual 
with that particular " make-up " is as likely to 
become insane over any one imsolved problem as 
another; and the only objection is that, in these 
subjects, the faith and emotions are appealed to, 
as they are not in the majority of other sciences. 
But surely not more so than in various religious 
creeds — where the most appalling extremes are 
constantly held before the eyes of their followers ! 
In this case the parallel is striking, and conse- 
quently the absolutely untrue and unjust state- 
ment that "modem spirituahsm has sent com- 
paratively more people to the insane asylum than 
everything else put together " may be refuted by 
the fact that recent statistics have shown that a 
larger proportion of the inmates of insane asylums 
are religious lunatics than spiritualists. 

But there is another point of view to be consid- 
ered in relation to the objection we are discussing. 

iFor example, "perpetual motion." 


It has been assumed, by all those who oppose such 
investigations as those relating to clairvoyance, 
haunted houses, and so on, that these subjects are 
all necessarily untrue; that there is no real founda- 
tion for any of them ; consequently their investiga- 
tion tends merely to propagate error. If such 
were the case that would undoubtedly be so, but 
let it once be granted for a moment that such 
things do exist, and really are a part of nature, 
though all unknown as yet, and their investigation 
becomes a most imperative duty. The average 
scientist would be willing to admit, I believe, that 
if such phenomena really existed, their solution 
would be highly important, and consequently must 
take the stand that they do not really exist. But 
they do exist! This I say not merely by way of 
opinion, but on the authority of very many em- 
inent men and investigators who have borne testi- 
mony as to their reality, and whose cumulative 
evidence is absolutely overwhelming and convinc- 
ing. If the facts did not exist, why should these 
men bear testimony thereto? Why should the evi- 
dence be forthcoming? or, to quote Andrew Lang, 
" why do such stories come to be told? '* On this, 
I take it, everyone must form his own opinion, 
which will be guided into one of three channels. 
Either (i) the phenomena exist, as stated; or (ii) 
the investigators were hallucinated, and only 


thought they saw what they did. This theory is, 
in many cases, excluded by the fact that some ma- 
terial change has been left in the world, proving 
that the phenomenon actually occurred, and was 
not merely thought to have done so; or (lii) — 
and this is the theory the majority of persons pre- 
fer to believe — that the investigators were, in 
some way, imposed upon and duped. Undoubtedly 
this has occurred in some cases, but in others, such 
as telepathic hallucinations, automatic writing, 
etc., it seems incredible, and in many cases prac- 
tically impossible to attribute the cause to fraud 
and fraud alone. Such a theory would involve 
tihe dishonesty of many of our leading scientists 
and literary men, who claim either to have expe- 
rienced or witnessed many of these phenomena 
themselves, under circumstances which render that 
hypothesis absolutely untenable; for any reason- 
able man to hold it nowadays simply betrays lack 
of knowledge of the evidence at hand. And if 
they exist; if, amid this bewildering mass of evi- 
dential matter, some phenomena, however slight 
and obscure, are observed, which tend to show that 
there are here some problems of nature as yet un- 
solved, then the study of these very problems is 
of the highest possible value, and the objection 
that they tend to " foster superstition " is mean- 
in,^less and absolutely without foundation. 



^ This objection is closely akin to the last one 
and need not detain us here at any length. The 
drawback it suggests is, again, a partially vital 
one; as the continued patronage of mediums who 
have been exposed in fraud is not only a very 
great mistake, but a temptation held out to other 
mediums to produce phenomena fraudulently also, 
and thus obtain a living at the expense of their 
dupes in the easy way suggested. All this is ad- 
mitted. But it must be remembered, on the other 
hand, that fraud such as this is only likely to 
occur when investigating paid or professional me- 
diums; and the Society for Psychical Research 
has made it an almost invariable rule to refuse to 
investigate the phenomena occurring in their pres- 
ence, as being open to this very objection, and 
have devoted their energies almost entirely to pri- 
vate and unpaid mediums, in many cases with con- 
vincing results. Further, be it observed, psychi- 
cal research does not by any means confine itself 
to the investigation of spiritistic phenomena, but 
devotes its attention to many other problems — 
apparitions, telepathy, etc. — some of which, 
however much hallucination may occur, can 
scarcely be set down to deliberate fraud, as such 
an hypothesis would involve the connivance of hun- 


dreds of cultured persons. Indeed, to the careful 
observer, it would seem that, owing largely to the 
public exposure of trick devices, and largely to the 
laborious investigations of the Society for Psychi- 
cal Research, fraud is far less in vogue, far less 
practised at the present day than ever before; it 
seems, in fact, as though it were gradually being 
eliminated by the increase of knowledge in these di- 
rections, so that, here again, the objection that 
psychical research " tends to encourage fraud " is 
absolutely erroneous and made in entire ignorance 
of the evidence at hand.' 


But one of the principal objections which has 
always been raised against the study of these phe- 
nomena is that they tend to induce abnormal and 
morbid conditions, both mental and physical; and 
this both in the subject and in the operator. And 
as no impression relating to these topics seems to 
have so great an influence over the public mind as 
this, and as no one of them is, generally speaking, 
more false or without foundation, it is well that this 
objection should be met and answered here, if only 
for the sake of completeness ; it has already been re- 

1 See my Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism for a very 
detailed account of the tricks and devices of fraudulent 
mediums. < 


f uted many times by pens far more competent than 
mine. To state the objections, then, as briefly as 
may be, it would seem that the public at large 
regard the in/oestigators in these questions either as 
partially demented -—* this state being invited 
and induced by a continued dabbling in the 
unknown and mysterious, a love of the marvellous 
— or as taking actual pleasure in invoking 
certain abnormal conditions for the purpose of 
watching the subject in the course of the induced 
paroxysm; just as an abnormally minded surgeon 
might watch the struggles of a suffering animal in 
a case of vivisection. To answer the first of these 
objections it is only necessary to quote the names 
of a few of those who have investigated these sub- 
jects, and whose authority on any other topic what- 
ever would not, for one moment, be disputed; 
such men as Sir Oliver Lodge, Sir William Crookes, 
Lord Rayleigh, Hon. A. J. Balfour (former 
Premier of England), Professors William James, 
Sidgwick, Barrett, Hyslop, Wallace, Balfour 
Stewart, John Ruskin, Messrs. Myers, Gumey, 
Andrew Lang, Schiller, Robert Louis Stevenson, 
Lord Tennyson, Hon. W. E. Gladstone, the 
Bishop of Ripon and Professor Langley (to quote 
only a very few names most widely known as men 
of science and letters) : — these men most surely did 
not engage in any such investigation as this for 


the mere pleasure of beguiling away their other- 
wise valuable time in worthless speculations on 
subjects which do not really exist! The absurd- 
ity of such a statement should be apparent without 
further comment. These questions can be investi- 
gated in precisely the same manner as any other 
branch of investigation, without undue credulity 
and without lacking that calm, sane, scientific spirit 
which marks any other scientific investigation. 

The second charge brought against the investi- 
gators is, that they induce morbid conditions 
merely for the opportunity of studying the results 
attained in this manner. Now, I claim that this is 
not the case. This side of the question turns upon 
the supposed fact that morbid conditions are gen- 
erally induced, while it can be shown that they are 
not. This brings us to the subjects of investigation 
themselves — the objection here resting upon the 
supposed fact that, in the course of psychic studies, 
unnatural and unhealthy conditions are constantly 
evoked. This objection must obviously be confined, 
in the first place, to expervmentcH evidence, as over 
spontaneous phenomena we exercise no apparent 
control ; and be the effects in these cases what they 
may, we cannot help them, as they occur whether in- 
vestigated scientifically or not. To these may be 
added many of the experimental phenomena, a 
study of which has failed to produce any 'satisf ac- 


tory evidence as to any lasting evil effects result- 
ing therefrom. In f act, the charges of abnormal- 
ity or morbidity must be confined, it appears to me, 
to the four following subjects: 

(i) Experimental thought-transference. 

(ii) Induced hallucinations and hallucination 
in general. 

(iii) Spiritism: the medium-trance, " posses- 
sion,'* etc. 

(iv) Hypnotic experiments. 

I shall take them for discussion in the order indi- 

(i) In telepathic experiments both the operator 
and subject are, generally speaking, in a perfectly 
normal condition; they act voluntarily and con- 
sciously, and it is an extremely rare occurrence for 
any imtoward symptoms to manifest themselves, 
either at the time or afterwards. Occasionally, a 
slight headache is complained of, after the comple- 
tion of the experiments, or a feeling of lassitude; 
but these are only occasional, transitory, and 
utterly insignificant compared with the importance 
of the results attained. In the vast majority of 
these cases this has been the sentiment of the sub- 
jects themselves, even when those slight symptoms 
follow, which, generally, is not the case. 

(li) Nothing could be a greater mistake than to 
suppose that a hallucination of the senses invariably 


indicates bad health or morbidity of temperament. 
That it does so in many cases is an undoubted fact ; 
but that isolated, trajisient hallucinations of the 
sane should indicate any specially abnormal condi* 
tion is wholly opposed to the results of the investi- 
gations carried on of late years. The hallucina- 
tions resulting from doses of opium and other 
drugs; from illness; from defects in, or irritation 
of, the sense-organs themselves, in the cortical cen- 
tres, or in the nerves leading from the one to the 
other — in all these cases an abnormal condition ex- 
ists, and they are more a province of pathology 
and psychology than of psychical research. Hallu- 
cination itself is only discussed in this relation be- 
cause of its frequent induction — in crystal-gaz- 
ing, hypnotic suggestion, etc.; hence, granting 
their morbidity, the opposition to these subjects on 
this ground. But, as before stated, their morbid- 
ity is by no means granted by modem investigators ; 
and case after case could be quoted (did space 
permit) containing some such sentence as the 
following: ** I was in perfect health at the time, 
and cricket, rowing and swimming were part of my 
daily exercises. . • ." The argument is very 
neatly summed up by Mr. Podmore, from whose 
book ^ I quote the following: 

tApparitiont and Thought'Tran9ference, pp. 207-8. 



" Indeed, until recent years the tendency of even 
well-instructed opinion has been to regard a sensory 
hallucination as necessarily implying some physical' 
or mental disorder. This misconception — for it 
is a misconception — has had some curious conse- 
quences. Since it does occ€isionally happen that a 
person admittedly sane and healthy reports to have 
seen the likeness of a human figure in what was ap- 
parently empty space, such reports have been by 
some perforce scouted as unworthy of credence, and 
by others regarded as necessarily indicating some 
occult cause — as testifying to the agency of 
ghosts. There was, indeed, the analogy of dreams 
to guide us. Few educated persons would regard 
dreams, on the one hand, as a symptom of ill- 
health, or on the other as counterparts or revela- 
tions of any super-terrestrial world; or, indeed, as 
anything else than purely subjective mental images. 
Yet dreams belong to the same order of mental 
phenomena as hallucinations, and are commonly so 
classed, such differences as exist being mainly due 
to the conditions under which the two sets of phe- 
nomena respectively occur. In fact, a hallucina- 
ttion is simply a hypertrophied thought — the last 
member of a series, whose intermediate terms are to 
be found in the mental pictures of ordinary life, in 
the vivid images which some artists can summon at 
will, and in the faces in the dark which many 



persons see before passing into sleep, with its more 
familiar and abundant imagery." 

Thus far as to hallucination in general; but 
what of those individuals who are in the habit of 
constantly/ inducing these images? Here, if any- 
where, we should find traces of some abnormal con- 
dition were the phenomena in question dependent 
upon morbidity in any form. But such is by no 
means the case. In Mr. Myers' paper ^ on " Sen- 
sory Automatism and Induced Hallucinations,'* 
there are printed statements of several of those so- 
called " psychic " individuals who experience such 
hallucinations almost daily. Of these " Miss X " 
is probably the most frequent recipient living of 
hallucinatory pictures, voices, etc., and her evidence, 
supported, as it is, by all the other investigators 
and subjects, must be taken as at least typical. On 
this very subject, however, she has declared: 

** In view of certain statements which are current 
as to the physical conditions of crystal-gazing, I 
wish to say, as emphatically as possible, that in my 
own case these experiments are neither the cause nor 
the effect of any morbid condition. 

** I can say positively, from frequent experience, 
that to attempt experiments when mind and body 
are not entirely at ease is absolute waste of time. 
1 Proceedings S. P. R., Vol. VIII, pp. 436-535. 


The very conditions which might make crystal-gaz- 
ing a fatiguing and exhausting process render it 
impossible. I can with equal certainty disclaim, 
for myself, the allegation that success in inducing 
hallucinations of this kind is due in any way to an 
Stat maladif. The four years during which I have 
carried on experiments in crystal-gazing have been 
among the healthiest of my life." 

In view of this definite evidence, then, it can 
hardly be objected that this branch of the subject 
is necessarily a sign of morbidity. 

(iii) Objections have been raised to the study 
of the so-called " medium-trance,'' with its accom- 
panying phenomena of possession, obsession, etc., 
upon the ground of its abnormality. Upon no 
topic is the medical and psychological world so un- 
interested, and consequently so misinformed, as 
upon this. The general impression existing, that 
any trance condition is necessarily pathologi- 
cal and injurious, seems to be so deeply inrooted, 
and everjrwhere accepted without any inquiry as to 
its legitimate foundation, that it cannot be com- 
bated or refuted in a general review such as this. 
I can but say that, generally speaking, this opinion 
is wholly unwarranted and untrue, and I appeal to 
the evidence existing upon these subjects to bear 
out my statement. That such abnormal condi- 


tions exist together with trance is undoubtedly true 
in many instances ; ^ but that such symptoms 
should be considered as inseparable from the trance 
state is just as erroneous a conclusion as the Char- 
cot theory that ** all hypnotisable subjects are hys- 
terical.'' This theory has been exploded by point- 
ing out the fact that the Charcot school experi- 
mented solely upon hysterical subjects ! Naturally, 
such a conclusion was the only one at which it was 
possible to arrive. Moreover, they are entirely 
alone in this theory, the vast majority of physi- 
cians agreeing that it is entirely unsupported and 
opposed to their own experience in this direc- 
tion, and declaring that 8o\ind and healthy persons 
make just as good or better subjects than those 
with a predisposition to hysteria. 
With regard to the medium-trance : 
I can but appeal to the evidence extant and beg 
my readers to refer thereto, and satisfy themselves 
that my statement is correct when I say that true 
pathological conditions are extremely rare in the 
medium-trance. I shall refer to a single case — 
the most noticeable of its kind on record — by way 
of illustrating the point here made ; for it may rea- 
sonably be argued that if the trance condition is 
dependent upon any abnormal condition, those in- 

iSee, e. g,. Dr. Hammond's Bfiriiualism and Allied 
Causes and Conditions of Nervous Derangement and Dr. 
Marvin's Philosophy of Spiritualism, 


dividuals in whom the trance manifests itself most 
frequently would be the ones in whom the conditions 
would be most marked. Mrs, Piper — the now 
famous Boston medium — has been almost con- 
stantly studied since the autumn of 1885 — the 
first report on her trance phenomena appearing 
in July, 1886,^ over the signature of Prof. Wil- 
liam James. Since that time this medium has, 
been under almost constant observation, both here 
and abroad, and at one time experienced as many 
as two long trances a day, or even more. During 
all the seventeen years, however, no noticeable path- 
ological symptoms have ever been observed, though 
her case has frequently been observed by medical 
and other experts. She was chiefly studied by 
the late Dr. Richard Hodgson, secretary of the 
American Branch of the Society for Psychical Re- 
search; and, in a review, he most emphatically re- 
pudiated the suggestion that Mrs. Piper's trances 
involved " the extreme cost of personal suffering," 
and that the symptoms frequently observed were 
^^ the convulsed countenance, the gnashing teeth, 
the writhing body, the clenched hands," by the 
following statement : 

" In a communication to Light • . . for 
February 4, 1899, I pointed out that her asser- 
tions on this matter were entirely baseless. I drew 

1 American Proceedmfft S. P. R., p. 103. 


attention to the fact that * the convulsive move- 
ments which usually in past years marked Mrs. 
Piper's going into and coming out of trance ' had 
ceased two years previously. ... I also em- 
phasised the fact that Mrs. Piper's trances did not 
involve any personal suffering by quoting a state- 
ment from Mrs. Piper herself that she had never 
suffered any physical pain in connection with 
her trances, and that during the past two years she 
had experienced better health than before since she 
was thirteen years old." ^ 

It would seem, then, that in this case also, the 
charges of morbidity, etc., are entirely unfounded; 
and, supported as the evidence is by that of Mrs. 
Thompson and other and newer investigations of a 
similar type, we must again conclude that the 
charges brought against these subjects upon this 
score represent, not so much the sound opinion 
formed by a careful study of the available evidence, 
as the hasty d priori objections of the old-school, 
old-time practitioner, whose knowledge of these 
subjects was gained years ago and whose opinion is 
now practically valueless, as it represents a point 
of view which is by no means up to date, nor even 
in accordance with observed and admitted facts. 

(iv) There is probably no branch of psychic 
investigation which is more misinterpreted and 

1 Proceedings S. P. R., Vol. XIV, p. 395. , 


which has given rise to such misconception as hyp- 
notism and hypnotic phenomena. From the dozens 
of different theories put forward to explain this 
state (all probably wrong) ; from the mass of rub- 
bishy literature upon this subject now printed and 
upon the market, and from the general fear with 
which it is regarded, it would seem that the days of 
witchcraft had returned, with their vagaries and 
superstitious terrors. The average person is, I am 
sure, absolutely afraid of being hypnotised, though 
it would be hard for people, in the majority of 
cases, to explain the cause for this dread. Some, 
perhaps, would oppose it on theological ground, 
claiming it to be the work of the Devil — which ac- 
tually occurred, e. g.j in 1842, when the Rev. James 
McNeil attacked the phenomena upon that ground 
in a sermon preached in Manchester, England. 
This objection has already been answered many 
times. Others, perhaps, would object upon the 
ground that it would be liable to induce hysteria, or 
some other morbid condition ; or that it ^' weakens 
the will ; '* or that an unlimited control might be 
gained by the operator over the subject, thus en- 
forcing the enactment of crimes, etc. ; or that, once 
asleep, it might be impossible for the operator ever 
to awaken the patient, thus inducing one of those 
terrible cases of continued sleep, ending in death, 
which we sometimes read of in the papers. I 


can assure my readers that such cases actually exist 
in the papers — and there only. There is abso- 
lutely no respectable evidence of any kind forth- 
coming that such a case as this exists or ever 
has existed outside the fertile brain of the news- 
paper reporter. Such stories must be absolutely 
discredited, as there is not a single grain of 
truth in any such statement as this. After 
considerable personal experience in this work, 
and after a careful perusal of practically all 
the standard authorities upon this subject, I can 
honestly say that not a single well-evidenced case 
has been forthcoming. It may occasionally hap- 
pen that a slight difficulty has been experienced in 
awakening a particular subject ; but in experienced 
hands. this is extremely rare; and even when this 
does occur, no apprehension need be felt upon this 
score, as, when left alone, a spontaneous awakening 
will occur in every case — in from one to twenty- 
four hours after treatment. It will thus be seen 
how foolish and unfounded such stories are ; indeed, 
they appear creditable at all only to those individ- 
uals unacquainted with the fundamental nature of 
hypnotism and its phenomena. 

The other three objections require more con- 
sideration, as although they are, as I believe, de- 
cidedly untrue, the absurdity of the charges is not 
so apparent, and the objections named have, ap- 


parently, considerable weight in public opinion. I 
hope, at some future time, to treat this question 
at greater length, but for the present I must con- 
tent myself with noting and briefly answering the 
three following, and remaining, objections: 

(a) Hypnotism induces hysterical and other 
morbid conditions. 

(6) The frequent induction of hypnotism 
tends to " weaken the will.'* 

(c) The operator may, in time, obtain complete 
control of the subject's personality — his will — 
and thus compel him to commit crimes, etc., merely 
by commanding him to do so. 

(a) This was the theory adopted by the Char- 
cot School, and persistently defended by them for 
a number of years. As it was defended by numer- 
ous physicians on the Continent, and by Ernest 
Hart * and others in England, those laymen who 
defend this theory may well feel that their case is in 
good hands, and be content to leave it there. 
Consequently this objection either stands or falls 
with the ability of these physicians successfully to 
defend their theory. But, in the ensuing clash of 
opinions, what has been the outcome? This old 
thesis has been absolutely and completely exploded. 
First, it was pointed out, as I have done above, 

1 See Hypnotism, Mesmerism ofod th^ New Witchcraft. 
By Ernest Hart. London, 1893. 


that the Charcot School experimented entirely upon 
hysterical subjects, and consequently the only pos- 
sible conclusion to be drawn from such an investiga- 
tion was that hypnotic subjects were hysterical. 
But when other investigators experimented upon 
other and healthy subjects, hysterical symptoms 
were found in very few instances ; on the contrary, 
hypnotic suggestion completely cured many cases of 
pronounced hysteria. And this extends also to 
other morbid conditions. The supposed analogy 
between hypnotism and hysteria is now shown to be 
absolutely without foundation; it is one of those 
old-time theories beyond which many medical men 
have not progressed, but the fallacy of which any 
intelligent student of these phenomena, who keeps 
abreast of the times, may readily perceive. This 
hypothesis is behind the times. Dr. Bramwell, in- 
deed, declared that ^^ as far back as the Interna- 
tional Congress of Psychology of 1892 the Char- 
cot theories had practically ceased to excite scien- 
tific interest.'' * As this seems to be the opinion, 
also, of the majority of other writers upon this 
subject, I leave the final verdict to any unpreju- 
diced reader. 

(6) Nothing, in this connection, is more fre- 
quently heard than the statement that hypnotism 
tends to " weaken the will." It would be next to 

1 Proceedings S. P. R., Vol. XV, p. 102. 


impossible to refute that statement here, as such an 
argument would involve much dispute as to the na- 
ture of hypnotism itself, and other technical points ; 
and I can but say in this connection, *' Where is 
the evidence for its ever having done so? Upon 
what does this accusation rest? " If analysed, I 
believe that this assumption would be found to rest 
principally upon subjective bias and unconfirmed 
rumour, occasionally supplemented, perhaps, by 
some flaring newspaper article. In opposition to 
this I may state that a careful perusal of the works 
of Doctors Braid, Moll, Bemheim, Lloyd Tuckey, 
Bramwell, William James, De Courmelles, Cocke, 
and Messrs. Gurney, Myers, Sextus, Quackenbos, 
Binet and F^re, De Mude, Anderson, St. Germain 
and other writers has failed to produce any confir- 
mation whatever of this theory, which must, there- 
fore, be relegated to the list of ** human errors,** 
together with so many others relating to these 

(c) The subject of " criminal suggestion'* is 
one which is yet far from being definitely decided 
to the satisfaction of eJl. The works of the old 
mesmerists occasionally contained accounts of 
crimes perpetrated by the unfortunate and unwill- 
ing subject, but in the absence of any recent 
evidence tending to confirm these stories, they must, 
I am sure, be accepted largely cum grano, and as 


being due partly ta misunderstanding the existing 
conditions, and partly to an ignorance of the power 
of conscious and unconscious suggestion. I have 
spoken of " the absence of any recent evidence 
tending to confirm these stories." It is true that 
pseudo-crimes are induced nearly every day by hyp- 
notic suggestion ; that is, acts are performed in the 
laboratory which would, if enacted in real life, con- 
stitute crimes; but it is precisely this difference 
which renders the latter most unlikely of perform- 
ance — that they are " laboratory crimes." The 
hjrpnotic consciousness of the subject, which never 
sleeps, comprehends perfectly that a trial, a " test," 
is being made, and knows that however great the 
similarity may be between this and a genuine crime, 
he would not be permitted to commit a reed crime 
in the presence of his investigators, and it is this 
feeling of security which allows him to perform any 
act suggested to him. But let a real crime be sug- 
gested, in which the subject is left to himself, and 
in whom the responsibility, if caught, would rest, 
and the suggestion invariably fails. This is the 
experience of almost every person at the present 
day who either practises hypnotism or is thor- 
oughly acquainted with hypnotic phenomena. Dr. 
Bramwell, in his exceedingly thorough and brilliant 
article on " What is Hypnotism? " ^ after a brief 

1 Proceedings S. P. R^ Vol. XII, pp. 204-58. 


r^sum^ of the evidence for criminal suggestion sums 
up the result of his investigations as follows: 


'* 1. I have never seen a suggestion accepted in 
hypnosis which would have been refused in the 
normal state. 

*' 2, 1 have observed that suggestions could be 
resisted as easily in the lethargic as in the alert 

" 3. I have frequently noticed increased refine- 
ment in hypnosis: subjects have refused sugges- 
tions which they would have accepted in the normal 

" 4. I saw Camille refuse a suggestion from 
mere caprice. 

" 5. Examination of the mental condition in 
hypnosis revealed the fact that it was unimpaired. 

" 6. The arguments of Bernheim cannot be con- 
sidered conclusive, as they are founded solely upon 
two classes of facts, (a) Where a simple and 
harmless act has been assumed to be thought crim- 
inal by the subject, because the operator has 
stated it to be so. (b) Where the subject has 
permitted something in hypnosis which he woul 
probably have submitted to in the normal state.*' 

1 Pp. 238-39. 


Such phenomena do not necessarily indicate the 
presence of any abnormal or morbid condition. 

Before. leaving this section, one or two reflections 
may be noted which tend to cast a somewhat 
new light upon these subjects, and upon our point 
of view regarding them. These phenomena are by 
no means always degrading or abnormal in their 
character. Are they ever elevating or ennobling 
in this respect? May they not sometimes repre- 
sent, not sub or abnormal phenomena alone, but 
supernormal — tending toward a higher goal, and 
occasionally betraying sparks of a more celestial 
fire? There are symptoms and tokens which seem 
to show that man's ephemeral personality is more 
deeply set, more part of a greater and higher 
" self " than we can conceive upon the materialistic 
basis of physiolgical psychology. Such a concep- 
tion, based upon its legitimate facts, is far from 
being a premature speculation. Mr. Myers, speak- 
ing on this very subject,^ has said: 

" I claim that this substitution of personality, or 
spirit-control, or possession, or pneumaturgy, is a 
normal forward step in the evolution of our race. 
I claim that a spirit exists in man, and that it is 
healthy and desirable that this spirit should be thus 
capable of partial and temporary dissociation from 
the organism, thereby enjoying an increased free- 

1 Proceedings S. P. R., VoL XVII, p. 68. 


dom and vision, and also allowing some departed 
spirit to make use of the partially vacated organism 
for the sake of communication with other spirits 
still incarnate on earth. I claim that much know* 
ledge has already been thus acquired, while much 
more is likely to follow.'* 

And again,^ in discussing the various fluc- 
tuations of personality observable in the ** me^ 
dium-trance '' and kindred states, he goes on to 
say, " It may perhaps be felt, by some at least of 
the rising generation of psychologists, that few 
tasks can be more interesting and important than 
that of discovering, investigating, and comparing 
as many as possible of these extraordinary varia- 
tions in the ordinary human type — variations 
which, although often degenerative, are also some- 
times, in my view, distinctly and rapidly evolutive in 
their tendency." 


I have left but little space for meeting the ob- 
jections raised to the study of these subjects upon 
d priori grounds; nor do I feel that such a de- 
tailed defence is needed. Those individuals who 
oppose the study of these subjects upon such 
grounds alone are hopelessly prejudiced, and, 

1 Proceedings S. P. R., Vol. XVII, p. 74. 


in such cases, any defence whatever is absolutely a 
waste of time. It is impossible to convince them; 
they know beforehand that there is nothing of 
advantage to be gained in pursuing these inves- 
tigations ; and, as Miss X. pointed out/ ^^ it 
is only what Macaulay called the ' cocksure ' from 
which nothing is to be hoped.'' Fortunately, the 
majority of persons are not of this stamp, and 
have more or less definite grounds for opposing 
their study. 

There still remain certain objections of a more 
or less valid character which could not be included 
under any of the sections already discussed, and 
consequently must be jmswered here. This section, 
indeed, might well be headed " Miscellaneous Ob- 

First 9 then, there is the objection that these phe- 
nomena are " impossible." No matter how strong 
the evidence may be in their favour ; no matter how 
many scientific men testify to their reality, there 
must be a mistake somewhere. They are contrary 
to the laws of nature, they are impossible, conse- 
quently their study will tend merely to divert at- 
tention from legitimate scientific investigation. 
Those who believe in them are mistaken — that is 
all. ** But," as Dr. Mason has well said, " the ob- 
jector who refuses credence to well-attested facts on 

1 Essays in Psychical Research, p. 11. 


that ground alone, simply assumes that he is ac- 
quainted with all the laws of nature." ^ And 
again, Sir Oliver Lodge declared that: 

^^ It is a question of evidence whether such things 
have occurred; and opinions differ. For myself, 
I think they have. Part of the extra difficulty of 
accepting evidence for any unusual phenomena is 
the d priori notion that such occurrences are con- 
trary to natural law, and are therefore impossible. 
We cannot, however, clearly tell that they are con- 
trary to natural law ; all we can safely say is that 
they are contrary to natural custom ; or, safer still, 
that they are contrary or supplementary to our 
usual experience. The last statement is safe 
enough; but between that and the adjective * im- 
possible,' or the equivalent phrase * contrary to the 
order of nature,' there is a vast and unfillable 
gap." 2 

All this is undoubtedly true. If, for example, 
we should go to any chemist, or physicist, or physi- 
ologist, or scientist in any line of work, and ask 
him if he considers that everything is known re- 
lating to that subject which ever will be known — 
in other words, if the world's knowledge is complete 
along that line of inquiry — he would most assur- 
edly answer "No ! " How much more would this be 

1 Telepathy and the Subliminal Self, p. 110. 

2 Proceedings S. P. R., Vol. XVII, p. 43. 


the case in psychology, where next to nothing is 
known, comparatively speaking, about the phenom- 
ena it investigates. And, as psychical research 
problems are, very largely, psychological problems, 
whence the objection? If it be granted that there 
are any problems in nature as yet unsolved, then 
their solution becomes an imperative duty for the 
scientist. All scientific inquiry is based upon that 
very fact — that there are many problems as yet 
unsolved and laws as yet unknown. Scientific in- 
vestigation means simply an organised attempt to 
discover these laws. Why, then, should some sub- 
jects be investigated and not others? In fact, if 
reduced to definite statements, those who oppose the 
study of these phenomena upon the ground of d 
priori objection must fall back upon the statement, 
either that they are not investigated by scientific 
men, or that they are not investigated in a proper, 
thoroughly scientific spirit. As both of these 
statements are absolutely false, I can but inquire 
again. Whence the objection? 

Second. If, then, we grant, for the sake of ar- 
gument, that it is possible for such phenomena to 
exist, the next question is. Do they exist? This, of 
course, is a question which every man must answer 
for himself ; but, in view of the strength of existing 
positive evidence, the point I wish to here emphasise, 
in fact the object of this entire chapter, is to 


show that a negative answer to this question cannot 
and must not be given upon 6 priori grounds alone. 
It can only be answered after a lengthy personal in- 
vestigation and course of study; and, even should 
the final result be negative, it must be remembered 
that it represents that one investigator's opinion 
only; others may have met with very different re-« 
suits. One may encounter a hundred fradulent me- 
diums before one is discovered who is honest; but 
that is no reason for asserting that all are dis^ 
honest. In view of these facts, then. Professor 
Huxley's letter to the Dialectical Society,^ declining 
to join that committee because " The only case of 
* Spiritualism ' I have had the opportunity of ex- 
amining into for myself was as gross an imposture 
as ever came under my notice," assimies rather a 
humorous aspect, coming, as it does, from the pen 
of so profound a thinker as he. And, in viewing 
the attitude assumed by the majority of persons 
toward these subjects, one cannot help feeling how 
irrational and dogmatic they almost invariably are. 
Of course, we all consider ourselves the criterion and 
standard of unprejudiced judgment, and feel, in 
our conceit, " Oh, if others could only view the 
study of these phenomena in the same unbiased yet 
critical spirit that I do myself ! " Unfortunately, 
others think in exactly the same way, yet hold very 

1 See Report, p. 239. 


different opinions regarding these phenomena! 
And it is here that we have brought vividly before 
us the extreme 8vbjectivene88 of our universe, and 
appreciate, to its fullest extent, while studying these 
phenomena, the necessity of granting every man his 
own opinion, and the art of gracefully allowing 
everyone to retain that opinion without either un- 
due acceptance of the same, or a contemptuous re- 
jection thereof. And, on the other hand, many 
persons start about their investigations in a wrong 
spirit. Apart from the fact that but few persons 
possess a well-balanced mind — neither credulous 
nor unduly sceptical — many others require to be 
convinced that such phenomena are possible before 
they will consent to investigate them ! Thus Pro- 
fessor Jastrow declares (apropos of thought-trans- 
ference), " If telepathy means the hypothesis of 
a new force, that is, the assumption of an as yet 
uncomprehended mode of the output of energy, sub- 
ject rigorously to the physical bonds of material 
causation which make possible a rational conception 
of psycho-physiological processes; and if, further, 
someone will put forth a rational conception of 
how this assumed action can take place apart from 
the exercise of the senses, I am prepared to admit 
that this hypothesis is (not sound, or strong, or in 
accordance with the facts, or capable of explaining 
the facts, or warranted by the facts, but) one which 


it is legitimate, though perhaps not profitable, to 
consider. If, however, telepathy is put forward as 
a totally new and peculiar kind of action, which is 
quite unrelated to the ordinary forces with which 
our senses and scientific observation acquaint us, 
and which is not subject to the limitations of the 
material world of causation; if telepathy is sup- 
posed to reveal to us a world beyond or behind or 
mysteriously intertwined with the phenomena of this 
world — a world in which events happen not in ac- 
cordance with the established physical laws, but for 
their personal significance even in defiance of those 
laws — then it becomes impossible for the scientist 
to consider this hypothesis without abandoning his 
fundamental conceptions of law and science ; " ^ 
which amounts to saying, of course, " If you can 
explain these phenomena to me, I will accept them, 
but if you admit that they are quite inexplicable, I 
shall have to reject them forthwith ! " Could any- 
thing be more irrational? Does it not seem more 
scientific to accept some sufficiently attested phe- 
nomenon and endeavour to Jiccount for it after- 
wards, than to declare d priori that the phenomenon 
itself cannot and does not exist, however well at- 
tested, merely because we cannot account for it m 
our present state of knowledge? Similarly with 
other subjects. Earlier in this chapter I cited the 

t Fact and Fable in Psychology, pp. 101-9. 


case of a doctor who refused to believe that a "spir- 
it " could return — coidd " come back, because he 
does not believe that there is any such thing as a 
spirit to come back.'' Obviously, the only way to 
decide this question is, not to speculate d priori 
upon the possibility of spirit existence, and reason 
from that the possibility of its return, but to test 
and establish the possibility of its return, from 
which we can argue (should that be established) 
that man &at a spirit to return. Here, as before, 
it is merely a question of evidence. 

And, fincJly, if it be once admitted that such phe- 
nomena do exist — if telepathy, e. g.j be proved a 
fact in nature — the pessimist is sure to arise with 
his Cui bono? Granting their existence, what is 
their use? What practical benefit can they be to 
mankind? Such questions, I believe, are almost in- 
variably asked by persons who are either uninter- 
ested or iininstructed in scientific matters. No sci- 
entist would, for one moment, be guilty of such a 
preposterous question. What is the " use " of antf 
scientific investigation, except to find out facts gen- 
erally unknown and unrecognised? Every new 
truth acquired, every scrap of information gained 
by persistent effort is of great importance in help- 
ing us to understand and unravel the mysteries of 
the imiverse which surround us on every side ; and 
especially is this the case in our attempts to under- 


stand that by which and through which, every phe- 
nomenon is known and appreciated — the human 
mind. Moreover, if these studies should result, as 
now seems highly possible, in scientifically demon- 
strating a future life, their \al\ie can hardly be fur- 
ther questioned, even by those who now oppose them 
most strenuously. And, as I have before stated, 
this now looks well within the bounds of possibility; 
and it is a fact that many persons — previously 
materialists — have become converted to that be- 
lief through these very phenomena, scouted, ridi- 
culed and rejected though they be! 

In every instance the attacks on this subject 
may be successfully repelled; in every case the ob- 
jections can be triumphantly refuted. A great deal 
more might be said in this relation, but space does 
not permit. I leave the final judgment to any un- 
prejudiced reader. Meanwhile, one or two final re- 
flections may be noted, which, self-evident as they 
appear when pointed out, are not by any means seen 
and appreciated individually by the majority of 
persons : 

First, there is the possibility that thoroughly 
scientific investigation might tend to destroy the 
existing evidence for supernormal phenomena by 
exposing and " explaining " these occurrences and 
by showing them to be merely misinterpreted 
normal phenomena. At any rate, nothing is to be 


lost by deciding this question definitely, one way 
or the other. In the first Circular issued by the 
American Society for Psychical Research the fol- 
lowing sentence occurs, and, as it sums up, very 
tersely, the point here under discussion, I may quote 
it in full. It says : 

** The Council of the American Society, there- 
fore, feels that the duty can be no longer postponed 
of systematically repeating observations similar to 
those made in England, with a view of confirming 
them, if true, of definitely pointing out the sources 
of error in them if false. If true, they are of value, 
4ind the tracing of their limits becomes a scientific 
duty. If false, no time shoidd be lost in publishing 
their refutation ; for, if allowed long to stand un- 
contradicted, their only effect will be to re-enforce 
powerfully the popular drift toward superstition." 

Since this was written, much has been published 
which tends to destroy the existing evidence, both by 
exposing frauds and by discovering and eliminating 
sources of conscious and unconscious error, never 
before fully appreciated. But, on the other hand, 
much has been published which establishes, beyond 
all reasonable doubt, the fact that certain phenom- 
ena do occasionally occur which may with impunity 
be called " supernormal," inasmuch as they are most 
certainly unexplained and inexplicable by modem 
science as it stands to-day. I claim that this much 


has been definitely accomplished, and that those who 
deny this are merely ignorant of the existing evi- 
dence. And if we analyse the objections of scien- 
tific men — why they decline to investigate these 
problems — we find that in every case their objec- 
tions practically amount to a dislike for admitting 
the unpleasant truth, " I don*t know ! " How 
absurd a statement in the present condition of the 
world's knowledge! How hollow the ground be- 
neath such dogmatic denial! How little is yet 
known compared with what may yet be known! 
As Prof. William James has so forcibly re- 
minded us, ". . . an audience of some five or 
six score people, if each person in it could speak 
for his own generation, would carry us away to the 
black unknown of the human species, to days with- 
out a document or monument to tell their tale. Is it 
creditable that such a mushroom knowledge, such 
a growth overnight as this, can represent more 
than the minutest glimpse of what the universe will 
really prove to be when adequately understood? 
No! Our science is a drop, our ignorance a sea. 
Whatever else be certain, this at least is certain — 
that the world of our present natural knowledge is 
enveloped in a larger world of some sort of whose 
residual properties we at present can have no posi- 
tive idea." * 

1 The Will to Believe, etc., pp. 5S-4. 


The words of the late Frederic W. H. Myers 
upon this subject are especially apt. Mr. Myers 
was a man whose perfect insight and philosophical 
grasp of nature is seen but once in a generation, 
and his death is deeply deplored by scientists the 
world over. Pondering over these problems of 
death and futurity, and, in so doing, letting his 
glance rest for a moment upon such dogmatic as- 
sertions as these on the part of his scientific breth- 
ren, the spirit moved him to write, with his usual 
strength and beauty of style, yet with his custom- 
ary tenderness and pathos: 

^ And yet popular science sometimes speaks as 
though nearly everything in human nature had 
been observed already! As though normality had 
been defined, aberrations classified, a mass of ex- 
perience acquired which our successors will only 
have to work out in detail! A vain conceit! a 
monstrous prematurity! Rather let us remember 
that only by an abiding consciousness of our own 
inevitable childishness can we prevent those suc- 
cessors from looking on our religions with pity, 
and on our science with contempt, while they 
analyse, with a smile, our rudimentary efforts at 
self-realisation, remarking. How hard a thing 
it was to found the race of man.'* 





THERE can be no question that the two great 
fundamental laws of modern-day science are 
the indestructibility of matter and the conserva- 
tion of energy. No scientific hypotheses are con- 
sidered to be more established than these; they are 
the very foundation stones of Haeckel's philoso- 
phy, e.g., and science is more proud of the sup- 
posedly complete proof of these dogmas than of 
any other achievements of the past century. 1 
think I may assume that all my readers are fa- 
miliar with the central ideas of these two doc- 
trines; and I shall not elaborate them here. I 
wish only to call attention, in this place, to certain 
aspects of the theories, in so far as they relate 
to the problems under discussion, and particularly 
the question of immortality. For, it will readily 
be seen that, if materialism be true, if matter and 
force fill all the universe, and there is no room in 

1 By the " law of substance " Haeckel meant a compound 
law, composed of the two generally recognised laws apply- 
ing to matter — that of the indestructibility of matter and 
the conservation of energy. Haeckel coined his term to 
include and unify these two. 



it for that "third thing*' of Huxley's — con- 
sciousness — after the organism we know ceases to 
function; then immortality would be an impossi- 
bility, beyond any doubt, and materialism would 
stand proved. I shall, in this place, discuss these 
two theories in relation to the problems under con- 
sideration; the first briefly, the second at greater 
length; and I shall attempt to show that these 
dogmas, even if established, do not have the effect 
that many persons think they do have; and that 
immortality and the possibility of the occurrence 
of psychic phenomena axe not rendered impossible 
thereby, as many persons suppose. 

Modem science contends that matter is inde- 
structible ; not that the * individuality ' of matter 
is preserved, so to say, in all its varied forms and 
manifestations, but that the crude elements of mat- 
ter persist unchanged, eternally and unchangeably. 
Until the past year or two, no one dared even ques- 
tion this statement and hope to be considered sane; 
but lately we have the astonishing phenomena of 
radium and radio-activity, seemingly showing 
that the elements themselves can be disrupted and 
changed into other elements — radium into he- 
lium, e.g.9 as we hear on the authority of one 
scientist, and copper into helium, as we hear from 
Sir William Ramsey. This would seem to show 
that the whole modem conception of the nature 


of matter has been changed, and that the ideas 
of the alchemists have been not only revived, but 
demonstrated! Again, we see how unsafe it is to 
dogmatise on any scientific question. The cor- 
puscular theory of light, for instance, which for 
years back had been discarded as superstition, and 
so far disproved as to be not worth discussing, 
has been revived (since the recent discoveries in 
radio-activity), and now is not without its cham- 
pions in the scientific world. Many of the 
dreams of the cJchemist are thus proving to be 
more — far maj^e — than the mere dreams of 
visionaries; they are apparently becoming scien- 
tifically grounded facts. How many more of 
their teachings will prove to be similarly founded 
on reality? 

And recently, Dr. Gustave Le Bon has claimed 
that he has caused matter to actually disintegrate 
and vanish altogether — without return! Mat- 
ter has been, not changed^ but actually anni- 
hilated! It has (apparently) been resolved back 
again into that force or those forces of which it 
is the manifestation, merely; and the dogma of 
the indestructibility of matter can thus be 
shown to be untrue. It is true that the scientific 
world is not so shocked by the publication of 
this fact as they would have been a dozen years 
ago. Then, the facts would have been dismissed 


as unworthy of discussion, or even consideration; 
and the man who published such statements would 
have been looked upon as a dreamer or insane ! 
But the recent discoveries in physical science have 
been preparing the world for some such * shock ' 
as this; and it is probable that these experiments 
will soon be received by the world as authentic 
and conclusive. 

Ever since Lavoisier formulated his law of the 
indestructibility of matter, which seemed as per- 
manent as the heavens themselves, and which has 
been held without exception for more than one hun- 
dred years, no one had dared question it without 
involving the ridicule and contempt of scientists the 
world over. It wa^s thought that the indestructi- 
bility of matter was, if anything, even Tnore sure 
than the conservation of energy, — since more eas- 
ily verified. And yet, the new physics asserts that 
matter is not only destructible, but can be disso- 
ciated, and caused to vanish from sight! In 
the physical laboratory, we are told, matter can be 
resolved back into the energy, of which it is the 
manifestation, merely. /And so matter can be 
caused to become i qvisiole, and, in fact, actually 
cease to be matter altogether ! y It is no longer mat- 
ter, but energy. And science now seriously talks 
of the matejiaiifiation and the dematerialisation of 
matter! But let me quote from Dr. Gustave Le 



Bon's Evolution of Matter, one of the latest and 
most original of these works. Here he says, in 

" Matter can vanish without return. . . 
Force and matter are two diflPerent forms of one 
and the same thing. Matter represents a stable 
form of intra-atomic energy ; heat, light, electricity, 
etc., represent unstable forms of it. By the dis- 
sociation of atoms, that is to say the dematerialisa* 
tion of matter, the stable form of energy termed 
matter is simply changed into those unstable forms 
known by the name of electricity, light, heat, etc. 
. . . The atoms of all substances can disappear 
without return by being transformed into energy." 

Well, here is a revolution indeed! What be- 
comes of the old dogmas, so long cherished? Of the 
law of substance and of the old laws of chemistry 
and mechanics? What indeed! M. Le Bon was 
led to believe that there is a world between that of 
matter and that of pure force, — a world of ** im- 
ponderable matter." (This reminds us of Andrew 
Jackson Davis!) And the whole of Book IV. is 
devoted to " The Dematerialisation of Matter " ! 
After this, there can surely be no ^ priori objection 
to certain spiritistic phenomena — on the grounds 
of " impossibility," etc. — as there always has been 
in the past. It has simply become a matter o£ 


fact and evidence. The old dogmatic objections no 
longer hold good. 

And not only that. Matter can be materialised 
— long enough, indeed, for it to be photographed ! 
Thus, on p. 164, we read: 

** Such equilibria can only be maintained a mo* 
ment. If we were able to isolate and fix them for 
good — that is to say, so that they would survive 
their generating cause — we should have succeeded 
in creating with immaterial particles something re- 
sembling matter. The enormous quantity of 
energy condensed within the atom shows the im- 
possibility of realising such an experiment. 

** But if we cannot with material things effect 
equilibria able to survive the cause that gave them 
birth, we can at least maintain them for a suffi- 
ciently long time to photograph them, and thus 
create a kind of momentary materialisation." 

Photographs of this materialised matter are 
given, so that we may see it. And this, be it re- 
membered, is said by a man who is, if anything, 
opposed to spiritism and its phenomena ; who takes 
^^ no stock " in Eusapia Paladino, and who is a 
purely experimental scientist! What are we com- 
ing to? 

We are coming to this. That the old, Biblical 
account of creation is probably at basis true, after 


all! Matter and all that is in the universe 
emerged from — nothing, and it returns to — 
nothing. In the last pages of Dr. Le Bon's fas- 
cinating book, we have sketched for us the probable 
fate of the universe. It is this : 

" I have demonstrated with regard to the ele- 
ments of dissociated matter • • • that electric 
atoms in motion are always accompanied by vibra- 
tions in the ether. . • • These vibrations of 
the ether, ever the companions of the electric atoms, 
most likely represent the form under which these 
vanish by the radiation of all their energy. The 
electric particle with an individuality of its own 
. . . would thus constitute the last stage but 
one of the disappearance of matter. The last of 
all would be represented by the vibrations of the 
ether — vibrations which possess no more durable 
individuality than do the waves formed in water 
when a stone is thrown into it, and which soon dis- 
appear. • • • 

" After these ephemeral vibrations, the ether re- 
turns to its repose, and matter has definitely disap- 
peared. It has returned to the primitive ether 
from which hundreds of millions of ages and forces 
unknown to us can alone cause it to emerge, as it 
emerged in the far off ages when the first traces 
of our universe were outlined in the chaos. The 


beginning of things was, doubtless, nothing else 
than a re-beginning. Nothing lends to the belief 
that they had a real beginning, or that they can 
have an end." 

And so we have the universe traced back to a 
homogeneous, primal ether in rest. Once this 
ether receives an initial impulse, and all the rest 
would follow — ethereal vibrations, electric atoms, 
material atoms, worlds, the universe! And into 
the ether all shall return. But what caused that 
prune, initial impulse? That we cannot say; nor 
does Dr. Le Bon attempt to answer that question. 
He says that " forces unknown to us '' caused it 
to emerge. Is there any force unknown to us that 
could effect this first grand impulse other than 
some human or divine Willf ^ 

1 Since the above was written. Dr. Lc Bon has issued a 
sequel to his Evolution of Matter in another work, entitled 
The Evolution of Forces, This book, forming Volume XCI. 
of the International Scientific Series, shows us that tlie 
dogma of the indestructibility of energy is no more good 
and valid than that of the indestructibility of matter was 
proved to be. Throughout his book, and particularly in 
the chapter devoted to **The Vanishing of Energy and the 
£nd of Our Universe," Dr. Le Bon attempts to show us 
that energy, too, can be made to vanish without return; 
and that, in course of time, energy, like matter, will vanish 
and cease to be; and when that shall have taken place, the 
universe will have become stable, — practically resolved back 
into that quiescent 'nothingness' whence it sprang. Such 
is the lat^ conception of science! His conclusions are 
perfectly justifiable, inasmuch as Dr. Le Bon has furnished 
us with the details of the experiments upon which he 
founds them; so that any man who cares to may repeat 
bis experiments. The facts, at least, would seem to be 


So we come to this : Certainly matter is not the 
material, coloured, solid matter we think W6 see in 
every-day life. I have shown in another place 
(p. ^8) that the world we see is not the real ex- 
ternal world at all ; what we see is but the duplicate 
or double of such a world. We create a mental 
world within ourselves, and that is the only * real ' 
world for us, — and the only world we know and 
directly come into contact with. The real world, 
without, is different from it — of that we are as- 
sured; and of its existence, in any such real sense 
as the majority of persons imagine, there is very 
grave doubt. 

But physical science has always been concerned 
with things as they seem to be, not things as 
they really are. No matter whether the world 
is, in its essence, such as we conceive it or not, 
it says; that is nothing to do with us for our 
particular experimental problems and for prac- 
tical purposes. Even granting that the material 
world we come into contact with is not such a 

established beyond all question; at any rate the central fact, 
which Dr. Le Bon formulates thus: ^ 

"Energy is not indestructible. It is unceasingly con- 
sumed, and tends to vanish like the matter whi(£ repre- 
sents one of its forms" (p. 99). 

TTiis at all events shows us that the second of the two 
great dogmas of the past century has been called in ques- 
tion, and, in fact, actually disproved! Before such as- 
tounding revelations, one may well pause before pronouncing 
any fact "impossible." 



world as it has generally been supposed to be, still, 
for our purposes and for the affairs of every-day 
life, we have to take it as if it really were so, and 
as if it existed in exactly the way that we perceive 
it. That is very true, and physical science is per- 
fectly justified in taking this stand, for exper- 
imental purposes and arguments. Were she not 
to do so, there could be no real science of physics ; 
it would all be vague metaphysics. But even 
then, we must not lose sight of the fact that phys- 
ical science has recently been showing that matter 
is no such solid substance as has always been sup- 
posed — even for experimental purposes. Matter 
having recently been resolved into electricity, it is 
shown to be, not matter at all, but to consist of 
centres or points of force. Again, this revives 
ancient speculations — but this is a question that 
cannot be discussed here. 

Now, let us turn to the question of the con- 
servation of energy. I shall not, in this place, 
attempt to question this scientific hypothesis, ex- 
cept in one respect. It is universally held, as my 
readers doubtless know, that all the forces of the 
universe — light, heat, motion, chemical affinity, 
vital force, etc. — are in some manner interrelated 
and capable of being transformed or changed, one 
into another; and further, that the amount or 

/f fr o o ^^/ i 


quantity of the force, when tiius transformed, is 
exactly equal to the quantity of the original force 
or energy. That is, the quantity of force in the 
universe remains constant, while its quality varies. 

So far as this relates to the physical world, pure 
and simple, this is probably correct, and I shall 
not attempt to question it here. My plea is, 
that lifcy or vital force, is wrongly placed in the 
list of energies; that it is not capable of being 
transformed from or into any other force what- 
ever, — a^ is universally held. All the purely phys- 
ical energies of the universe may be capable of 
being thus transformed and transmuted, and to 
them the law of conservation probably applies; 
but I contend that the law does not apply to the 
animal world and to vital force, and I shall now 
state, very briefly, my reasons for thinking so. 

In order to sustain the present system of in- 
cluding the vital energies in the law of conserva- 
tion, it is necessary to consider those energies as 
capable of being derived from others, and capable 
of being converted back into them under suitable 
conditions. Thus, energy would be supplied to 
the body, and in some manner converted into vital 
energy in it; and this vital energy would be 
given off by the body, and converted into other 
energies, in doing the muscular and other work 
necessitated. The way in which the body is sup- 


posed to derive its energy is through the food 
eaten; the chemical combustion of the food in- 
gested supplying the body with its energy, in 
precisely tiie same manner as the engine derives 
its energy through and by means of the coal 
burnt. The two cases (the steam engine and the 
body) are thus supposed to be practically identi- 
cal; the body derives its energy, supposedly, in 
the same way that any engine derives its energy 
— through the chemical combustion of the fuel 
supplied; and the process is no more complicated 
and mysterious in the one case than in the other. 
That is the present theory, and the one I believe to 
be essentially untrue. 

I cannot now enter into all the reasons for 
thinking this theory erroneous, as that would take 
us into many obscure physiological problems, and 
would be out of place in a volume such as this. 
In my book, Vitcdity^ Fasting and Nutrition^ X 
have discussed this question in great detail, and 
shall here but summarise some of the arguments 
and theories there advanced. Anyone who wishes 
to obtain detailed knowledge of the facts is re- 
ferred to the book mentioned, where my argu- 
ments will be found in full. 

If the energy of the body were derived from the 
food eaten, then the process should be purely a 
mechanical one, and the same amount of food. 



oxidised in the same way, should yield the same 
or nearly the same amount of energy to all persons. 
Yet we know that such is not the case ; the athletes' 
and the weaklings' bodies are built from the same 
food and about the same amount of it; and yet 
we know that one has twice or thrice or even ten 
times the strength of the other. If our strength 
were derived from the food by a purely mechanical 
process of combustion, it is hard to see why this 
should be so. 

But we need not go beyond the limits of 
every-day life and every-day experience in order 
to see that this theory of the replacement of en- 
ergy by food is a pure myth. For, "were the 
generally held theory true, it would only be nec- 
essary, when tired, to go first to the dining room, 
and then to the gymnasium, in order to recuperate 
our strength and energies. We should ingest more 
food, then oxidise it off, and the process of its 
internal combustion would add more energy to the 
system; and so on ad infimtum. A truly pretty 
theory, but unfortunately (for it) we all know 
from actual practical experience that we must, 
when weary, retire to bed, and not to the dining 
room, in order to recuperate our energies ; and 
there comes a time when we can sustain ourselves 
no longer, but must seek rest and sleep, or die ; and 
this no matter how much food we may have eaten. 


or how industriously we may have exercised and 
breathed in order to oxidise it off. As a matter of 
fact, we know that it is exceedingly unhygienic 
and unwholesome to eat at all when exhausted by 
the labours of the day, and that exercise at such 
a time Is most doubtfully beneficial, and that no 
amount of deep breathing will succeed in indefi- 
nitely postponing the oncoming of fatigue, exhaus- 
tion and sleep. • • • 

** We are supposed to gain our energy through 
the combustion of food, — just as a steam engine 
gains its energy through the combustion of fuel; 
and it is contended that the parallel, in the two 
cases, is almost exact. But, unfortunately for the 
theory, the parallel is not exact in just this way: 
the human engine (the body) reaches a point where 
it refuses to evolve energy, no matter how much 
fuel (food) is forced into it, and no matter how 
full a * draught ' is turned on (exercise and deep- 
breathing taken). The engine does not recuper- 
ate and restore itself, and the body does; the en- 
gine continues to wear out, and can never replace 
its own parts by new ones, and the body can." 

Finally, I showed in my book, above referred 
to, how patients, when fasting (and so going 
without food altogether) did not get weaker, but, 
on the contrary, stronger — and this in spite of 
the fact that we supposedly derive our strength 


from the food eaten! As the result of these and 
many more facts and arguments, I think we may 
safely come to the conclusion that life or vital 
force is wrongly placed in the list, and that it is 
not derivable from, nor in turn transmutable or 
transformable into, any other of the physical 
forces, but stands alone, separate, distinct, per se* 

If this be true, we are in a better position to 
appreciate the position of life and its relative posi* 
tion in the other forces. It is not one of them, 
but guides them, merely, in its association with 
the body. It is not the product of any chemical 
process of combustion, but an essence, apart from 
any chemical or physical force in the universe. It 
is something apart from and superior to these. 

Now we are better enabled to understand the re- 
lation of this idea — that life is not simply an or- 
ganic product — than formerly and the relation 
of the theory to the possibility of conscious im- 
mortality and the possibility of psychic phenom- 
ena. Let me illustrate. Professor Shaler, in his 
book. The Individiud (pp. 301-2), thus expresses 
the current opinions: 

" The functions of the body are but modes of 
expression of the energy which it obtains through 
the appropriation of food. As regards their 
origin, these functions may be compared to the 


force which drives the steam engine, being essen- 
tially no more mysterious than other mechanical 
forces. Npw, the mind is one of the functions of 
the bodyf^^ veryspecialised work of the parts 
known as the nervous system. We can trace the 
development of this mind in a tolerably continuous 
series from the lowest stages of the nervous pro- 
cesses, such as we find in the monera or kindred 
protozoa to man. Thus it is argued that, though 
the mental work of our kind is infinitely more ad- 
vanced than that of the primitive animals, there 
is no good reason to believe that it is other than 
a function of the body; that it is more than a 
peculiar manifestation of the same forces which 
guide digestion, contract muscles, or repair a 
wound. Furthermore, as is well known, at death 
all the functions of the organic body fall away 
together in the same manner and at essentially 
the same time, so there is, in fine, no more reason 
to believe that the functions of the brain persist 
than that a like persistence occurs in the digestive 
function or in the blood-impelling power of the 
heart. All this, and much more, can be said to 
show that the phenomenon of death appears to 
possess us altogether when we come to die." 

All this is perfectly logical and consistent. It 
would seem to indicate that such is indeed the case, 




were It not for this fact. We have seen that, upon 
the theory defended, none of the bodily energies 
are derived from the daily food, but from rest 
and sleep only ; that the body is more like an elec- 
tric motor, in construction, than it is like a steam 
engine; and consequently the analogy does not 
hold. As we have seen, ^' nervous or vital force is 
not dependent upon food combustion at any time, 
nor under any circumstances whatever; and conse- 
quently mental energy — one form of nervous 
energy — is not dependent upon this physiological 
process either; it is altogether independent of it; 
so that, when the process itself ceases, it is 
no proof whatever — and there is not even a 
presumption in favour of the argument — that 
mental life ceases at the death of the physical or- 
ganism. In fact, the presumption is all the other 
way. So that this main, oft-quoted and central 
argument against survival is no valid objection 
at all. . . • Provided my theory be true, it 
proves to have no foundation in fact. The possi- 
bility of conscious survival of death is thus left 
quite an open question — capable of scientific in- 
vestigation or of philosophic dispute; but the 
grand negative, physiological argument vanishes.'* 
From the physiological point of view, therefore, 
there can be no longer any objection against con- 
scious survival or the existence of psychic phe- 


nomena — at least the argument based upon the 
supposed dependence of mind upon the organic 
processes and energies. The old, materialistic no- 
tion, which compared the body to a lamp, vitality 
and life to the flame, which simply ceased to ex- 
ist with the extinction of the lamp, is thus shown 
to be invalid and based upon an incorrect inter- 
pretation of the facts. Life is not the result of 
any process of combustion or oxidation whatever, 
but is, on the contrary, the guiding, controlling 
principle, the real entity, for whose manifestation 
the body was brought into being. 

We have thus traced the vital or life-principle 
to some external source, outside the body, and 
have shown that, whatever its nature and ultimate 
source, it is not made or * manufactured ' within 
the system by any process of chemical or other 
combustion, but that it is derived from some all- 
pervading energy. The manner of this connec- 
tion I have also attempted to illustrate, briefly; 
and that is as far as I attempted to carry the 
problem . in my Vitality y Fasting and Nutrition^ 
which was a purely physiological treatise, and in 
which I did not wish to confuse the issue by intro- 
ducing unnecessary and ultra-speculative attempts 
at explanation of the nature or essence of this force. 
Its essence I did not therein attempt to explain, 
and indulged in no speculations as to what this 


life or vital force might be. In a book such aft 
the present, however, where the limitations are re- 
moved, so far as physical speculations are con- 
cerned, and believing as I do that one of the most 
prominent problems of the Coming Science wiU 
be an attempt to find and isolate this life or vital 
principle, I may state what I conceive to be the 
nature of this life force, offering the following re- 
marks as tentative only, and not as dogmatic state- 
ments of what the real essence of life may be. 
This is a most venturesome and bold undertaking, 
I admit — this attempt to define life — but I do 
so, as I before said, tentatively, and in the hope 
that speculations, however crude, may at least help 
in unravelling the mysteries that surround us on 
every side. 

Several times, during my discussion, I called at- 
tention to the close analogy of the body to the 
electric motor — at times using such language as : 
". . . The body is not an exact parallel, in its 
action, to the steam engine, as has heretofore been 
contended, but is rather that of the electric mototy 
which has the power of recharging itself with 
life or vital energy, just as the motor of the elec- 
trician receives its energy from some external 
source — the brain and nervous system being that 
part of us which is thus recharged, and constitut- 
ing the motor of the human body. . . ." But 


I went on to say : " I do not pretend to say what 
this source is, and I do not feel that I am called 
upon to explain this any more than I am the 
essence of vitality. Both must be, in a sense, ac- 
cepted without explanation, like the connection of 
mind and matter. I need only say that, to the 
physicist, the theory should have no objections on 
that ground, since the fact that such an all-per- 
vading energy exists is becoming more and more 
manifest. Says Mr. Thurston,^ * All space is per- 
vaded by heat, light, electricity and magnetism; 
why not with vital and spiritual energies? ' " 

Having arrived so far in our investigations and 
inquiry, the question at once arises. What is this 
life? That it is in some way electrical in its na- 
ture will probably at once suggest itself to my 
reader. Numberless suggestions and speculations 
have been advanced on these lines, but the same 
objection might be raised to them all, viz.: If we 
were to assume that life is in any way electricity, 
how account for the facts of self -consciousness? 
Electricity, so far as we know it, is not conscious, 
but on the contrary is a more or less * physical ' 
and * material ' force, — just as all other forces are 
' physical.' Carl Snyder ^ says that, " In the new 
view, the ultimate cause of muscular action, and, 

1 The Animal ca a Prims Mover, p. 334. 
^ New Conceptions in Science, p. ^09. 


not improbably, of all life-processes, is electricity.'* 
But if life is electricity, where does consciousness 
come in? We seem to be as badly off as ever. 

Now, I would begin by calling attention to cer- 
tain facts in physical science. Electricity is, as 
we well know, positive and negative. What nega- 
tive electricity is we know pretty well. The atoms 
of the universe are built up of it, — according to 
modem science. But what of positive electricity? 
Of that virtually nothing whatever is known. 
Let me state the present position of science by. 
quoting from Dr. Kennedy Duncan's book. The 
New Knowledge (pp. 188-9), as follows: 

". . . What is positive electricity, as dis- 
tinguished from negative, which consists of these 
corpuscles ? The answer is, We do not know. We 
conceive of an atom as an aggregation of nega- 
tive corpuscles arranged in a certain number in 
a certain way, and surrounded by a sphere of 
positive electricity which balances the negative elec- 
tricity of the corpuscles within it. We can ac- 
count for positive electrification as distinct from 
positive electricity on the supposition that a posi- 
tively electrified body is one which has lost some 
of its corpuscles, while a negatively electrified body 
is one which has gained corpuscles. But this does 
not tell us what positive electricity actually is. 


If it is made up of particles, these particles must 
either have no mass at all, or very little, for the 
mass of the whole atom seems to be simply the 
sum of the masses of its negative corpuscles. 
Positive electricity as apart from an atom does not 
seem to exist. It never seems to fly free as the 
corpuscle does. Its nature is, to-day, a mystery." 
And again (p. 246) : 

**What positive electricity is nobody knows: 
unless the statement that it is a mode of manifesta- 
tion of the all-pervading ether constitutes knowl- 
edge, though even this we do not absolutely know." 

Now, I boldly propose that the active phenom- 
enal principle of what we call life is positive electric- 
ity. Positive electricity may be the very life-prin- 
ciple in operation — the phenomenal aspect of what 
we call life — itself in action : life acting or func- 
tioning, may be this very positive electricity. It 
seems to surround and control all matter and yet 
be no part of it! What is this power or force 
which seems to play so powerful and yet so insig- 
nificant and unmeasurable a part in the universe, 
if it be not the controlling, regulating power of 
the universe? And what may that be but life? 
That positive electricity is immaterial we have evi- 
dence; and it is certain that no definite place has 
been assigned to it, as yet. May not this positive 
electricity, then, be the active life-principle of the 


universe — that which charges our nervous 
mechanisms during the hours of rest and sleep in 
the manner I have suggested in my book? There 
are many facts that might be adduced in favour 
of such an hypothesis, but this is not the place to 
produce them. I advance this merely by way of 
a suggestion. If we covdd trace these other forces 
of the universe back to one primary force, — they 
being but its aspects, — and if we covdd in any 
way identify this primary or fundamental cause 
with life or mind, positive electricity being the 
phenomenal aspect of this very mind in operation,^ 
we could begin to see the workings of this law — 
a law that would unify all science and explain in 

1 It is improbable that mind can ever act directly upon 
matter, but (upon the theory that it acts upon the brain 
at all, and is not made by it and its functioning) upon 
some intermediary — semi-material — which some persons 
have conceived as an * ethereal body.' This may be very 
true, and the ethereal body may» in the last analysis, be 
but a modification of the power I am discussing. Long ago 
Dr. Dods pointed out that: "... Electricity is indeed 
the connecting link between the mind and the body . . . 
mind cannot come into direct contact with gross matter. 
My mind can no more directly touch my hand than it can 
the mountain rock. My mind cannot touch the bones of 
my arm, nor the sinews, the muscles, the blood vessels, nor 
the blood that rolls in them. In proof of this position, let 
one hemisphere of the brain receive what is called a stroke 
of palsy. Let the paralysis be complete, and one-half of 
the system will be rendered motionless. In this case, the 
mind may will with all its energies, — may exert aU its 
mental powers — yet the arm will not rise, nor the foot 
stir. Yet the bones, sinews, muscles, and blood vessels arc 
all there, and the blood as usual continues to flow. . . ." 
This passage has singular interest in this connection. 


a rational manner all that we know of the organic 
— no less than the inorganic — worlds. So far 
as we can ever understand life at all, it is prob- 
ably positive electricity; to us it will remain so, 
though it is possible that this is itself but the phe- 
nomenon of that which lies behind — the notim- 
enon; and that may be wSl power — that which 
creates and annihilates worlds: the dynamic force 
of one, imiversal, all-pervading, omnipotent mind. 



NOTHING, in psychical research, can either 
help or hinder our progress so much as the 
attitude of mind assumed, at the commencement of 
our studies, toward these subjects, and the clearness 
with which are formed our conceptions of what is 
believable and what is not. Broadly speaking, 
however, it may fairly be said that he who begins 
his investigations with the least prepossession, with 
the least clearly formed opinions — either for or 
against — and with willingness to accept any new 
fact, upon sufficient evidence, even if it should up* 
set his previous convictions and beliefs; in short, 
that person who possesses an abundance of what 
Professor Sidgwick so happily termed the " higher 
common sense," he it is from whom we may rightly 
expect the greatest resvdts; an impartial repre* 
sentation of the evidence at hand, without either 
dogmatic positive assertion, or a relapse into 
that weak and effeminate position of assuming off- 
hand that it is ^^ unknowable." And most assur- 

1 Paper read before the Minneapolis Society for Psychical 
Research, June 6, 1909. A portion of this paper has pre- 
viously appeared in print; see Psychic and Occult Views and 
Reviews, May» 1903. — H. C. 



ediy no other point in our evidence will hinder us 
more than setting a limit upon our own powers, 
mentally) and of the view we take of our own per- 
sonality. If we are to accept the fact (now 
taught by most psychologists) that our mental life 
depends simply and solely upon certain physical 
processes within our brains, and consequently that 
without these processes there can be no mental life, 
we are indeed crippled and confined, in our out- 
look, to a certain narrow field, viz., how far can 
our senses be sharpened and our nervous system 
trained to receive more fully certain fine — but 
obviously physical — indications as to what is oc- 
curring around us? 

Now, one great blow which this " narrow " out- 
look upon the universe has received is the large 
and constantly increasing acceptance of telepathy 

— of the fact, that is, that certain impressions can 
and do reach another mind quite independent of 
the ordinary and recognised avenues of sense. 
^ But this teudf^^ as Mr. Myers has admitted, 
** does not in itself carry obvious proof of any- 
thing in man which the materialistic hypothesis 
might not cover. * Brain waves ' might be a form 
of ether waves, or in some way analogous thereto,'^ 

— though it has repeatedly been shown how im- 
probable such a theory is. But, apart from this, 
there are, indeed, very few facts incapable of being 


classified (I will not say explained) in some way 
under the materialistic hypothesis. So wide an ac- 
ceptance is this latter theory receiving, in fact, 
that the majority of Continental scientists have 
given up all thought of mind existing apart from 
matter, and consequently have come to the conclu- 
sion that " a future life, of any sort, is hardly 
worthy of serious consideration.*' 

Now, such a position as this can only be met 
upon its own ground, and answered by facts a« 
strong as those advanced by the materialistiic 
school. This subject, of such vast importance to 
man, can no longer be argued from the same 
standpoint as formerly; the subject of a future 
life can no longer be based upon emotional crav- 
ing or theological dogma; it must withstand the 
test of etidence. Here, then, is a point which can 
definitely be decided either one way or the other. 
Are there, or are there not, among these problems 
of psychical research, such evidential data as will 
decide, more or less definitely, the question, by 
producing such undeniable facts and evidence as 
will tend to show that man's survival of bodily 
death is indeed a great reality, and no mere fig- 
ment of the imagination? Such evidence, the 
strongest ever yet advanced, may be found in full 
in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical 
Research (S. P. R.), and repugnant as the idea 


of an expervmentcJly proved future life may be to 
some, it is nevertheless the only evidence forthcom- 
ing. It is upon such evidence as apparitions and 
haunted houses; upon the hidden depths of man's 
consciousness, as evoked under certain abnormal 
conditions; but above all, upon the trance utter- 
ances of the famous Boston medium, Mrs. Piper, 
that those scientific men who have become con- 
vinced of a future state of being base their con- 
clusions and arguments, and I cannot too strongly 
advise my readers to read and to study that evi- 
dence in its complete and cumulative form. 

But this chapter is not to be devoted to the evi- 
dence itself, but rather to a consideration of cer- 
tain d priori objections which have been raised 
against this subject, and particvdarly to a dis- 
cussion of the materialistic standpoint, in its rela- 
tion to the phenomena of mind. For it must be 
admitted that if science can show that such a thing 
as a future life is an utter impossibility, then, no 
matter what our previous opinions or convictions 
may have been, we are bound, as lovers and follow- 
ers of truth, to reject this long-coveted treasure, 
however much our instincts or desires may be to 
the contrary. And it is such a proof as this which 
experimental psychology claims to have brought 
forward. Its arguments are chiefly these: That 
the brain and nervous system are those parts of 


our being which form and compose our* mental 
life, and upon which the latter is wholly de- 
pendent for its existence*^ For every liiought 
there is an accompanying physical dumge in the 
brain substance — from which the obvious infer- 
ence to be drawn is that when there is no more 
brain there can be no more thought or conscious- 
ness. Again, should you strike a man upon the 
head with a bar of steel, consciousness ceases for 
the time being — owing, apparently, to the de- 
rangement of the brain's functions ; and should the 
blow be dealt with more severity and greater struc- 
tural damage take place, the man ceases to exhibit 
thought or consciousness — ^not only for the pres- 
ent, but for all time; he is, in fact, what we term 
^^ dead." Again, should you mix poison with the 
blood of any individual, and this be carried to 
the brain through that medium, the correspond- 
ing mental " states " or conditions invariably show 
themselves; the organ of mind has been tampered 
with, and consequently the mind itself is deranged. 
But more than all this, it has been shown that in- 
jury to, or removal of, certain portions of the 
brain affect certain portions (if I may so express 

1 A typical example of the position of the scientific world 
is to be found in Lowell's Occult Japan, p. 312: "White- 
heating of the cells (of the brain) we call consciousness. 
Consciousness, in short, is probably nerve-glow." 


it) of consciousness and thought. Piece by piece, 
section by section, as the physical and obviously 
material brain is removed; so bit by bit, and little 
by little, the mental life disappears, until not a 
vestige of it remains. 

Now, all this most certainly tends to show that 
our conscious existence is absolutely dependent 
upon our very material brain, and consequently 
the formula, *' Thought is a function of the 
brain," is so widely accepted and believed that al- 
most any psychologist "will tell you," as James 
humorously puts it, 'Hhat only a few belated 
scholastics, or possibly some crack-brained theos- 
ophist or psychical researcher can be found hold- 
ing back, and still talking as if mental phenomena 
might exist as independent variables in the world." 
Now, all this is strictly common-sense and to the 
point, and the fact is certainly there that for any 
form of a future life we may postulate we must 
of necessity take into account this imdoubted brain 
action, and subscribe, in one sense or another, to 
the old psycho-physiological f ormvda, " Thought 
is a function of the brain." The question is. Does 
this undoubted fact of neurosis or nervous change, 
accompanying all thought, deter us finally from 
accepting any such condition as a future life, for 
the reason that thought and consciousness cannot 


exist apart from matter? I venture to think that 
it does not, and I shall now endeavour to justify 
this statement and make good my position. 

In the first place, then, ^ it would appear that 
the supposed impossibility of its continuing comes 
from too superficial a look at the admitted fact of 
functional dependence. The moment we inquire 
more closely into the notion of functional depend- 
ence, and ask ourselves, for example, how many 
kinds of functional dependence there may be, we 
immediately perceive that there is one kind at least 
that does not exclude a life hereafter at all. The 
fatal conclusion of the physiologist flows f ^m his 
assuming off-hand another kind of functional de- 
pendence, and treating it as the ,only imaginable 
kind." I shall here briefly recapitulate these the- 
ories for the sake of clearness, using the terse lan- 
guage of Prof. William James in so doing: 

**. . . One cannot see more than two really 
difi^erent sorts of dependence of our mind on 
our brain; either (i) the brain brings into being 
the very stuff of consciousness of which our mind 
consists; or else (ii) consciousness pre-exists as an 
entity, and the various brains give to it its various 
specific forms. 

" If supposition (ii) be the true one, and the 
stuff of mind pre-exists, there are, again, only two 


ways of conceiving that our brain confers upon it 
the specifically human form. It may exist : 

^^(a) In disseminated particles, and then our 
brains are organs of concentration; organs for 
combining and massing these into resultant minds 
of personal form. 

"(6) In vaster units (absolute * world soul' or 
something less), and then our brains are organs 
for s^arating it into parts and giving them finite 
form. • • • There are, thus, three possible 
theories of the brain's function, and no more. 
We may name them severally: (i) The theory of 
production; {U) the theory of combination, and 
(ill) the theory of separation." ^ 

Now, it is to the first of these theories that the 
majority (but by no means all) of the psychologists 
cling; and it is upon this theory that their argu- 
ments are based; but in the absence of all definite 
proof either for or against, we are surely entitled 
to consider the two latter theories as possibilities 
not to be summarily rejected. Indeed, apart from 
the fact that one theory involves some such hy- 
pothesis as ^^ spirit" and the other does not, the 
two theories are exactly on a par, neither being 
exactly proved, explained, nor apparently prov- 
able or explainable with our present knowledge 

1 Human Immortality, By Prof. William James. 


and data. And, apart from the above-mentioned 
difficulty, the latter theories, involving some sort 
of transcendental world, lend themselves very 
naturally to the explanation and elucidation of 
those psychical phenomena — so-called ^ miracu- 
lous cures," telepathy, premonitions, and the like 

— which are exceedingly difficult, if not impossi- 
ble, to explain and classify on the '* production 

And now let us see how — in the latter theories 
advanced — consciousness is to be conceived as 
operating upon and through us; or rather our 
brains, which are the '^ seats " of consciousness — 
whatever view we take of our mental life. First 
of all then, I shall assume, for the sake of argu- 
ment, that ccmsciousness may really exist apart 
from our physical organism, but is only manifest 
to us — to our senses — while operating through 
that organism ; ^ and this I shall endeavour to illus- 
trate by a simple analogy. In the accompanying 
illustration we will suppose that the vertical divid- 
ing line, A9 represents an opaque wall; forming, 
in this case, with the walls, B, C, D, a perfectly 
air-tight chamber, into which no light can possibly 
enter. In this wall, A^ a small opening has been 
made and a glass prism, £, inserted — as shown 

— upon which falls the light of the distant sun, 

1 Save in telepathy, etc. — H, C. 


F; and it is through this prism that light is re- 
fracted into the enclosed chamber — that being the 
only light obtainable. Now, it will be observed 
that, in this case, anyone living within that cham- 



oer can have no idea or conception of the sun's 
actual, unimpeded light — would have no knowl- 
edge, in fact, of any light at all not obtained 
through our prism ; and, had he always lived within 
that chamber, would disbelieve in any other light 
whatever. Further, if this prism should become 
cracked or marred in any way, a corresponding 
defect would be noticed in its refracting qualities ; 
and, with every additional crack or chip, its utility 
would be still further impaired; in short, its func- 
tion wotdd he deranged. 

And now suppose that this swn should represent 


consciousness — free and unimpeded from all its 
material limitations; that we should be the inhab- 
itants of that chamber ; and that our brains should 
represent this prism, by which and through 
which consciousness manifests itself. Many 
things fall into place on this analogy. First, 
here is a full and complete answer to the material- 
ist that, as the brain is injured, a corresponding 
mental derangement takes place. This, as we have 
seen, would be the case on the " transmi3sion the- 
ory," just outlined abov^. If a man loses con- 
sciousness as soon as his brain is injured, it is 
clearly as good an explanation to say that the 
injury to the brain destroyed the mechanism by 
which the manifestation of consciousness was ren- 
dered possible as to say that it destroyed the 
" seat " of consciousness. On the other hand, 
there are facts which the transmission theory suits 
the better. If, for example, as sometimes hap- 
pens, a man after a time more or less recovers facul- 
ties of which the injury to his brain deprived him, 
and that not in consequence of a renewal of the 
injured part, but in consequence of the inhibited 
functions being performed by the action of other 
parts, the easiest explanation certainly is that con- 
sciousness constitutes the remaining parts into a 
mechanism capable of acting as a substitute for 
the lost parts. Again, this analogy would explain 


and answer the difficulties raised, and the objec- 
tions brought forward against this theory on the 
ground that the mental faculties apparently grow 
with the brain and decline with the brain's decay. ^ 
Fof, in that case, our prism would be small in 
childhood, and consequently admit less light in 
actual volume, but that light would be clearer and 
purer than that refracted in later life, when the 
glass or prism had become dulled and blurred with 
constant use and exposure ; and, indeed, this proves 
to be the case — for childhood's imagination and 
impressionability are with difficulty stamped out 
and replaced by the more prosaic and so-called 
** rational '' view of things necessary in our modem 

And again, as to the effects of drugs upon the 
brain, and arguments of that nature. The reply 
is much the same for all these objections: if you 
destroy the organ through which, or by which, con- 
sciousness manifests itself, then certainly that con- 
sciousness cannot manifest properly ; just as, in the 
above case, if we injure or destroy our prism, then 
its refracting properties are impaired. But we 
do not injure the mind — the actual consciousness 
— any more than we should, in the above case, de- 
stroy the sun. 

And yet again : it is hard to see, on the material- 

1 Haeckel, The Biddie of the Univerie, p. 147. 


istic theory, how the mind can effect those wonder- 
ful mental cures which have now become so nu- 
merous ; for, from their point of view, the mind is 
but a function of the brain, just as secreting bile 
is a function of the liver ! But if we can conceive 
ourselves — our real selves — acting upon our ma- 
terial body through the brain. Mid directing the 
other functions of that body, more or less, thereby, 
by means of our wUl — a part of our mental life 
— then we begin to see how these cures are ef- 
fected; to have some faint inkling of the hidden 
processes at work within ourselves which bring 
these results to pass. And, finally, the above the- 
ory is perfectly compatible with the general trend 
of Evolution, for the reason that as the ma- 
terial brain advances in development, so it admits 
a correspondingly greater influx of mental life. 
*^ If the material encasement be coarse and simple, 
as in the lower organisms, it permits only a little 
intelligence to permeate through it ; if it is delicate 
and complex, it leaves more pores and exits, as it 
were, for the manifestations of consciousness." ^ 
The above theory, then, contains nothing which is 
absolutely opposed either to common-sense, philos- 
ophy, or science. 

Having now shown, as I trust I have, that these 
other theories of consciousness — though purely 

1 F. C. S. Schiller, Biddle$ of the Sphim, p. 293. 


theoretical and speculative — still contain nothing 
which absolutely contradicts what is already known 
of physiology or the physical sciences, I shall en- 
deavour to combat, in the remaining portion of this 
chapter, the materiahstic or ** production '' theory 
of consciousness, and to point out the many diffi- 
culties to be taken into accoimt in an acceptance of 
that theory. For if it is hard for us to conceive 
how the " combination '* or " separation " the- 
ories — spoken of above — actually operate, the 
production theory presents just as great and in- 
surmountable barriers. As before stated, then, 
the materiahstic standpoint is simply this: that 
certain physical changes take place in the brain. 
These changes give rise — in some unknown way 
— to definite thought. What these changes actu- 
ally are, and all the experiments made and infer- 
ences drawn therefrom, may be found in the stand- 
ard works on physiological psychology,^ and this 
is not the time nor the place to discuss them. To 
place, briefly, a few of the difficulties of the pro- 
duction theory before you, I shall in the first place 
quote the opinions of some of the world's greatest 
scientists upon this very subject. Professor Tyn- 
dall, for example, says : 

'^ The passage from the physics of the brain to 

1 See, €. g., Ferrier, Funetioni of the Brain; Bastian, The 
Brain as an Organ of Mind; Ladd, Psychology, etc 


the corresponding facts of consciousness is un- 
thinkable. Granted that a definite thought and a 
definite molecular action in the brain occur simul- 
taneously, we do not possess the intellectual organ, 
nor apparently any rudiment of the organ, which 
will enable us to pass, by a process of reasoning, 
from the one to the other. Were our minds and 
senses so expanded, str^gthened and illuminated 
as to enable us to see and feel the very molecules 
of the brain ; were we capable of following all their 
motions, all their groupings, all their electrical dis- 
charges, if there be such, and were we intimately 
acquainted with the corresponding changes of 
thought and feeling, we should probably be as far 
as ever from the solution of the problem: How 
are these physical processes connected with the 
facts of consciousness? The chasm between the 
two classes of phenomena would still remain intel- 
lectually impassable." ^ 

Hear also the words of Professor Huxley upon 
this subject — a man who, by the way, has fre- 
quently been charged with being a materialist. 
He says : 

" I understand the main tenet of materialism to 
be that there is nothing in the universe but mat- 
ter and force, and that all the phenomena of 
nature are explicable by deduction from the prop- 

1 Fragments of Science, 5th £d., p. 490. 


erties assignable to these two primitive factors. 
. . But all this I heartily disbelieve. In the 
first place, it seems to me pretty plain that there 
is a third thing in the universe — to wit, con- 
sciousness — which, in the hardness of my heart 
or head, I cannot see to be either matter or force, 
or any conceivable modification of either, however 
intimately the manifestation of the phenomena of 
consciousness may be connected with the phenom- 
ena known as matter or force." ^ 

Finally, I give here a brief resum6 of an article 
by Dr. Romanes on " The Fallacy of Material- 
ism," which appeared in the Contemporary Review 
many years ago. In doing so, however, I shall 
quote also quite freely from Dr. Thomson's excel- 
lent summary of this question — including a review 
of the above-mentioned article — 'in his clever 
booklet entitled Materialism and Modem Physiol- 
ogy of the Nervous System. To return to Dr. 
Romanes, however, I may state his argument as 
follows : 

Premising that when once the invariable asso- 
ciation between material changes and mental 
changes is recognised, there arises the question as 
to the nature of this constant association. Dr. 
JRomanes proceeds to discuss the question: Can 

1 Collected Eisa^s. 


the material changes in the brain cause the mental 
changes? The affirmation to this he assumes to 
be the contention of materialism, and he begins by 
summarily ruling it out of court as having no 
case to argue. For he says that where the ques* 
tion becomes one, not as to the fact of the associa- 
tion, but as to its noiiure^ '* Philosophy • • • 
must pronounce that the hjrpothesis is untenable, 
for the hypothesis of its association being one of 
causality, acting from neurosis to psychosis — > 
that is, from nervous structure to mental processes 
— cannot be accepted without doing violence not 
merely to our faculty of reason, but to our very, 
idea of causation itself. For our idea of causa- 
tion is not derived from without, but from within^ 
and what we call the evidence of physical causa- 
tion is really only certain mental modifications fol- 
lowing one another in definite sequence. Hence 
we can have no evidence of causation proceeding 
from object to subject. The mind, therefore, 
cannot prove its own causation from matter or 
motion, because all evidence of that must itself be 
mental evidence, and nothing but mental; and 
hence it is as impossible for the mind thus to prove 
its own causation as it is for water to rise above 
its source.'* 

Having thus opened the argument, as is the 
lawyer's custom, by showing that the materialists 


really have no case at all, Dr. Romanes agrees, 
however, to allow them a chance to say something 
by remarking that they are fond of asserting that 
the evidence of causation from neurosis to psy- 
chosis is as good as such evidence can be proved 
in any other case. But, without considering the 
above-mentioned difficulty that there can be no 
such real evidence at all, he says the statement can 
be proved to be untrue by treating the problem 
on the lower ground of the supposed analogy 
itself. For the only resemblance between this sup- 
posed case of causation and all other cases of cau- 
sation consists in the invariability of the correla- 
tion between cerebral processes and mental 
processes. In all other points the analogy fails. 
For in all cases of recognised causation there is a 
perceived connection between the cause and the 
effect; the antecedents are physical and the conse- 
quents are physical. But in the case before us 
there is no perceived or even conceivable connection 
between cause and effect, for the causes are sup- 
posed to be physical and the effects mental. And 
this alone is enough to separate this case from all 
other known cases of supposed causation, the dif- 
ficulties being pointed out in the above extracts 
from Tyndall and Huxley. 

The next objection to materialism which Dr. 
Romanes finds is that in all other known cases 


there is an equivalency between cause and effect. 
But, as between matter and motion on the one side, 
and feeling and thought on the other, no such 
equivalency is conceivable. Some few materialists, 
he says, have sought to meet the difficulty in the 
only way it can be met, by ^^ boldly asserting that 
thought and energy are more or less transmutable. 
• . • On this view thought becomes a mode 
of motion and takes its rank among the forces as 
identical in nature with heat, light, electricity and 
the rest." But this view he regards as also in- 
herently impossible. Mind presents absolutely no 
point of real analogy with motion, because in- 
volved with the essential idea of motion is the idea 
of extension, for motion only means translation in 
space of something itself extended. But thought^ 
so far as we possibly can know it, is known and 
distinguished by the very peculiarity of not hav- 
ing extension, and therefore, for motion to become 
thought, it must cease to be motion, and thus cease 
to be energy. Thought, consequently, instead of 
being equivalent to so much energy, destroys en- 
ergy, and would thus constitute a unique exception 
to the otherwise universal law of the Conservation 
of Energy. And therefore, for these and other 
considerations of a more metaphysical kind, which 
we have no time at present to quote. Dr. Romanes 
finally concludes that, at the bar of Philosophy, 


Materialism must be pronounced conspicuously in- 
adequate to account for the facts. 

But if matter cannot cause mind, or physical 
changes cause mental changes, how then are brain 
and thought associated? In answer to this ques- 
tion, Dr. Romanes first discusses what he calls the 
theory of Spiritualism. By this term he means 
that view which conceives the mind as having an 
independent existence, or substance apart from the 
brain, and capable of acting upon it, and so using 
the brain as the mechanism of its thought, — for 
he uses the term " spirit " as interchangeable with 
mind. This theory he also summarily rejects, be- 
cause it seems to him to be merely the theory of 
materialism inverted; and that, therefore, most.6f 
the arguments adduced in his analysis of material- 
ism are just as available against ^^ spirituaUsm." 
For he claims that in whatever measure it is incon- 
ceivable that neurosis should cause psychosis, in the 
same measure must it be inconceivable that psycho- 
sis should cause neurosis; seeing that it is as 
impossible to imagine mind affecting energy as it 
is to imagine energy affecting mind. 

This is a favourite way among this class of writ- 
ers of disposing of mind; and it is obvious that 
such a dictum leaves us in midrair as to what any- 
thing mental is — for, if physical changes cannot 
cause mental changes, nor mental changes cause 


physical changes, what are mental changes any- 

One answer to this question is — that mental 
and physical phenomena, though apparently di- 
verse, are really identical! The apparent dis- 
similarity arises only because we perceive these 
things in a different light, as it were; and that 
they are double only in relation to our modes of 
apprehension. Just as the tremors of a violin 
string are phenomenally very different, according 
to our mode of apprehending them, with the eye 
or with the ear, so the tremors of a nerve are, both 
physical and mental, apparently dual; the event 
may be really singular, as, e. g.^ an air on the 
violin is one with the vibrations of catgut, yet is 
perceived by us as varying absolutely. " But," 
continues Dr. Romanes, ^^ if the physical and the 
mental are thus supposed to be identical in the 
brain, the physical and the mental must be iden- 
tical universally, for there is no reason to suppose 
the physics of the brain differs from physics in 
general. All physical processes, therefore, are 
likewise mental! We have not, indeed, to suppose 
that our physical processes (motions) think or feel 
— we have only to suppose that all physical mo- 
tions present the " raw material " of mind, which 
has not, as yet, been wrought into feeling or 
thought, just as the physics of crystallisation has 


not proceeded so far in complexity or refinement 
as the physics of life." In support of this view — 
namely, that we cannot draw anywhere a line be- 
tween physics and psychics — Dr. Romanes quotes 
a passage from what he terms " the most closely 
reasoned and profound of Professor Clifford's phi- 
losophical writings,'* which reads : ^^ 
" Mind-stuff is the reality which we pejrc^e as 
matter. A moving molecule of inorganic matter 
does not possess mind or consciousness, but it pos- 
sesses a small piece of mind-stu^F. When the 
molecules are so combined together as to form the 
film on the imder side of a jelly-fish, the elements 
of mind-stuff which go along with them are so 
combined as to form the faint beginnings of sen- 
tience. When the molecules are so combined as to 
form the brain and nervous system of a vertebrate, 
the corresponding elements of mind-stuff are so 
combined as to form some kind of consciousness. 
When matter takes the complex form of a living, 
human brain, the corresponding mind-stuff takes 
the form of a human consciousness, having intel- 
Kgence and voKtion." ^ Dr. Romanes, however, 
decides that a fatal objection to this theory is that 

1 See Professor Strong's recent work, TTAy the Mind Has a 
*Body (1903), whidi has appeared shu^ the above was writ- 
ten. See also Prof. William James's attack on the theory in 
his Pfinciplei of Psychology, Vol. I, Chapter VI, "The 
Kind-Stuff Theory," and references therein given. 


it is unable to explcdn the fundamental antithesis 
between subject and object — the perceiver and 
the perceived — and concludes, as he began, by 
stating that the relation between matter and mind 
is inexplicable. 

Thus, just as Herbert Spencer leaves us in the 
great " Unknowable,'' and Huxley in the " Incon- 
ceivable,'' so Dr. Romanes lets us find our final 
intellectual rest in the " Inexplicable " ! Surely 
when such diverse opinions and admitted ignorance 
upon this subject, as here shown, are held by some 
of the leading scientific minds of the day, no one 
Can dogmatise very much upon the subject either 
one way or the other. And, whereas it must be 
admitted that thought is, in one sense or another, 
a " function " of the brain, a very different state- 
ment of the case, from that generally held, may 
be made as follows: Instead of consciousness or 
thought being a function of the nervous tissue, the 
perception of a sensation through neroou$ tissue is 
a function of consciousness; that is to say, con- 
sciousness is independent of nervous tissue, and 
uses nervous tissue to perceive with. In this sense 
our two brains — for we have two — would be 
the instruments of consciousness, but are not con- 
scious themselves; just as our eyes are the instru- 
ments of sight, but do not themselves see; in the 
same way that a microscope is the instrument for 


magnifying minute atoms of matter, but cannot 
itself see and appreciate the magnification. Why ? 
Because it has no consciousness of its own. 

And thus, out of a multitude of opinions, we 
arrive very nearly at our starting-point, and have 
merely found, in our circuitous route, that nothing 
definite has been decided upon this point, either 
for or against any particular theory ; ^ and it is, 
very largely, merely a matter of personal opinion 
which theory is accepted; and this wiU vary with 
each individual according to his knowledge, envi- 
ronment and outlook upon the imiverse in general 
and upon these subjects in particular. Therefore, 
in this state of uncertainty, let us investigate those 
facts which tend either to prove or to disprove this 
or that theory upon experimental and scientific 
grounds. For it must be admitted that if a man's 
so-called " spirit " can be isolated, and got into 
ccmmiunication with, after death — and many of 
the world's greatest scientists say that it can, and 
that they have actually done so — if this, I say, is 
a fact, then it follows as a matter of course that 
man has a " spirit " or " soul " to return ; which 
would be positive, decisive evidence. But this can 
only be decided, as before emphasised, by actual 
experimental evidence. Let us, therefore, press 
our investigations in this direction with as much 

1 James, P$yeholoffy, VoL !» pp. 134, 138, 154-6, 316, etc. 


energy and zeal as in any other; fearlessly tracing 
to its fountain-head any evidence, any facts, seem- 
ing to throw light upon these subjects, and follow- 
ing up that evidence wherever it may lead us. 
If we encounter difficulties and disappointments on 
the road — these are to be expected in investiga- 
tions such as ours ; but they should only goad us 
on to further efforts — for surely the subject is 
interesting and important, from any point of view 
whatever. And if, finally, there, is, amidst all the 
fraud, delusion and reeking superstition in which 
psychical research is luhappily steeped, some 
grain, however small, of a transcendental faculty 
in man, which our science of to-day does not rec- 
ognise, but of which, occasionally, faint glimpses 
may be caught in investigations such as ours, — 
then most assuredly we should pursue these inves- 
tigations — this science — with a mind as free 
from prepossession as it may be our fortune to 
possess. We live in the hopes of a great dis- 
covery, far-reaching and of vast import, and, in 
such a cause as this, " worthy should be that effort 
and great should be that hope ! " 


Though the following discussion may not ap- 
pear at first sight to have any direct bearing upon 
the foregoing essay on Consciousness, or to follow 
directly from it, it will become apparent as we 
proceed that it is a more or less direct continuation 
of that essay, inasmuch as I shall be called upon 
later to defend the position I there occupied ; while 
it makes clearer certain obscure points which 
needed, perhaps, further elaboration. This dis- 
cussion began by the publication in The Open 
Court magazine for June, 1906, of the following 
criticism of Dr. I. K. Funk's interesting book on 
psychical research. The Widow^s Mite. The fol- 
lowing is the article (I quote verbatim) : 

THE widow's mite 



** As a people we are measured by the books we 
read and what we think of them. Dr. I. K. Funk's 
big book of over 600 pages, on * The Widow's 
Mite ' and the * Spirit * of Henry Ward Beecher, 
has measured a great mass of readers to be far 
back of this age of science — which is not won- 



derful; has it not done the same for a large part 
of our leading university professors and edu- 
cators? — a fact, if it be one, of the greatest 

*^ The book tells of tvro little ancient coins, one 
black and genuine, and the other light and dubious, 
supposed to have been like those of the widow's 
* mites ' mentioned in Mark and Luke. They 
were borrowed by Funk and Wagnalls to be used 
in the Standard Dictionary and then returned 
The spurious one was used by mistake, but both 
were then put in the safe in an envelope. Dr. Funk 
ordered the genuine one to be returned to its owner. 
Professor West, a neighbour and friend of Henry 
Ward Beecher and principal of a young ladies' 
seminary on ' The Heights.' Nine years after 
this, and after the death of Professor West and 
Mr. Beecher, Dr. Funk was attending spiritualistic 
seances in Brooklyn. At one of them the medium 
suddenly gave a message to the Doctor, purport- 
ing to be from the * spirit ' of Henry Ward 
Beecher, requiring of him the immediate return 
of this borrowed genuine black coin to its owner. 
The Doctor answered that it had been returned 
\ years ago. The spirit replied that it had not; 
, but the medium could not learn to whom or where 
it should be returned. Upon search the envelope 
with both coins in it was found in the safe where 


they had been placed, presumably, nine years be- 

"Result: General surprise! Was this at last 
one genuine, decisive * spirit test'? Everyone at 
the Doctor's office who knew of the coin supposed 
that it had been returned. The medium and all 
connected with the stance swore that they never 
knew or heard of any such occurrence before this 
Beecher message. Professor West's son and ex- 
ecutor certified that he is as certain as he can be 
of anything that passed in his father's mind 
* that he, too, supposed that the coin had been 
returned.' The coin was rare and of great value 
- — some say worth $2,500.00. 

" Spiritualists claimed that the facts proved this 
message to be indubitable, and that Mr. Beecher's 
personal, living continuous consciousness, or spirit, 
was a fact. They even obtained another message, 
purporting to be from him, to the effect that he 
bad sent this message about a trivial matter be- 
cause, from the nature of the facts, he saw that 
^ the test ' must be conclusive, and that he wished 
to open the portals to the earth from the spirit 
realm, from which he had most important matters 
to communicate. But notwithstanding the per- 
sistent efforts of Dr. Funk and of very many 
mediums all over the earth, those ' most important 
matters ' have wholly failed to appear. Finally 




even the mediums seemed to tire of their efforts, 
and this message was ^ received ' from Mr. 
Beeeher, who was bothered beyond celestial endu- 
rance ; viz.9 ' The widow's mite bother Dr. Funk to 
their hearts' content for aught I care. I will have 
nothing more to do with the affair.' Thus the 
Beecher wit came to his protection and relief; 
which, as Dr. Funk adds, * has at least something 
of the old Beecher ring in it.' 

^^ Thus this ^ spirit ' incident ends in nothing, as 
they all do, when it comes to anything of value or 
use.^ But far otherwise is the revelation of the 
consequences and moral of the story to those who 
think. Dr. Funk was at first under a great vari- 
ety of doubts and be-puzzlement. This big book 
is his thrifty way of obtaining relief therefrom, 
and also fame, a good * ad.,' and then too ^ shekels ' 
— worth far more than mites. Two of his ex- 
perts intimate that it is also his * jest ' and ' prac- 
tical joke,' whereby his wit and humour also came 
to his relief — a view in which many a reader may 
concur, and to which finally the good Doctor may 
contribute a smile. 

" The gist of the book consists of a statement of 
the case, which was submitted to forty-two experts, 

iThis, it will be observed, is a mere dogmatic statement 
or opinion; and is, I venture to think, not in accord with 
the facts. — H. C. 


chiefly professors of physics and psychics in our 
leading universities and colleges, commencing with 
the voluminous Professor James of Harvard, 
Then follow their answers, mostly in the Appendix. 
With all this we have an epitome of the best spirit- 
ualistic literature — trying to make this revelation 
and test seem probable, if not certain, as the work 
of the continuous Mr. Beecher. 

'^ The Doctor might have consulted others with 
other results. For instance, many an impartial 
counsellor-at-law would have given him the maxim 
of old Horace: Hfec Detu intersit, msi dignus 
vindice nodus — ^ Don't call in a Grod (or even a 
Beecher), unless the knot is worthy of such an 
untier.' That is, the supernatural is never in 
order imtil the natural, relevant to the case, is all 
known and exhausted in vain. Thus, it was not 
natural or probable for a coin of that interest 
and value to be unretumed and lost without being 
talked over by West and Beecher in the circle of 
their curious friends, some of whom were largely 
spiritualistic Some of the friends or visitors of 
this resident medium would almost certainly hear 
of the story, and the medium consciously or un- 
consciously get it from them. Then, she may 
have forgotten it during the nine years and re- 
called it unconsciously in trance ; as is well attested 
in similar cases, even of languages heard and 


afterwards repeated in trance, by those at other- 
times ignorant of them. Then comes in explana- 
tion the possible fraud or collusion of some of the 
parties, including the medium. Indeed aU of the 


natural solutions suggested by Dr. Funk and othr 
ers in the book are to be taken as — imore prob- 
able than any ' spirit ' from another state of 
existence. This much the counsellor would say — 
resting upon the common rules of evidence and 

" But Dr. Funk says, in effect, that all such sup- 
posing does not negative the possibility of * spirit ' 
existence and communication. Well on this point 
he might and should have 'consulted an up-to^^te 
biologist, as well as professors of physics and psy- 
chics. And since he wandered all over the world 
(including Japan) to find experts, why did he not 
include Prof. Ernst Haeckel of Jena, or some like 
scientist, without reserve in behalf of scientific 
truth? 1 

" Professor Haeckel is by many regarded as the 
first scientist of our age in his department — the 
one in which this question properly comes. In his 
Thesis sent to the Congress of Liberals held at 
St. Louis in October last, he gives, not his verdict, 

iDr. Funk did include in his book the statements of 
several men just as opposed to spiritism as Professor 


but that of up-to-date science on this very point 
in these words ; viz. : * The soul of man has been 
recognised as the totality of brain functions. 
• . . This activity, of course, becomes extinct 
in death; and in our days it appears to be per- 
fectly absurd to expect, nevertheless, a personal 
immortality of the soul.' That is, the scientific 
and social immortality have become onCy and they 
take the place of the ' personal/ Thus science 
says : ' Not possible ' ! And this not as the opin- 
ion of one man or set of men, but the result of the 
facts of biology — commencing with the simplest 
protoplasm, and rising with all of its cellular com- 
binations through all vegetative and animal forms 
and convolutions to the brain of man, and the co- 
operation of human societies. 

** This mduction from all of the facts is clinched, 
he would say, by the two bottom laws of science — 
that is, of the universe; viz.: The laws of 'sub- 
stance,' or ' correlation,' and the law of * economy.' 
By the first law, all mental activities and processes, 
including the ' soul,' are the sequent or concomi- 
tant correlates which are found to be the results 
and equivalentg of preceding correlative changes 
occurring in protoplasmic organisms, and in those 
oni*y! By the law of economy, the fact that 
these * activities ' are the results of protoplasmic 
changes and actions is conclusive that they are not. 


and cannot be, produced or exist in any other 
place or way. For every such activity is the re- 
sult of equivalent correlaticms only, which cannot 
be changed without a different result, and which 
cannot cease without a ceasing of their activity at 
the same time. 

*' After the death of Mr. Beecher there was, 
therefore, no possible spirit, soul, or consciousness 
of him extant to bother or be bothered about this 

* widow's mite ' or anything else. Any other sup- 
position is not only untrue, but ' absurd.' This 

* recognised ' fact, as Professor Haeckel styles it, 
is now 'the commonplace of science.* Thus, for 
instance, it underlies all medical treatment of men- 
tal ailments, except by frauds, quacks and the 
uninformed.* In one or the other of those un- 
enviable classes must not those stand who, by 
words, silence or otherwise, admit or imply that 
Mr. Beecher's conscious spirit or soid was not 
existent, so as to have possibly made this pretended 
communication ? 

" Now, Dr. Funk's book reveals this astonishing 
fact; viz.: Not a single one of the said jury of 
forty-two experts does other than to directly or 

1 Here Mr. Wakeman show^ ignorance himself of the 
fact that, only in some instances, is any organic change 
discovered by post-mortem examinations of the brains of 
insane persons. 


implicitly or tacitly admit the then existence of 
Mr. Beecher's soul, and its consequent ability to 
communicate as claimed! But this fact is njrfj^ 
only astonishing: it is exceedingly important. Do 
our universities and colleges exist for the purpose 
of 'raying out darkness'? Was there not OTie 
great professor who knew enough and dared 
enough to tell Dr. Funk the plain truth — the 
commonplace and bedrock of science? 

"What kind of leaders and teachers are we to 
have for the next generation when those who are 
* liberally educated ' in this accept only a practical 
suppression of the truth as to the most important 
matter that science has made known to a human 
being — the nature, origin, duty and future of 
himself? Let us all have the truth, the whole 
truth and nothing but the truth. For * in that 
only is there wisdom and safety,' as old Goethe 
told us long ago. 

** Aside from their bearing upon the substance of 
Dr. Funk's book, those arguments of * induction,' 
' correlation ' and * economy ' are just now of ex- 
traordinary importance, for Professor Haeckel has 
seriously proposed to make them an important 
part of the basis upon which the free-thinkers of 
every country should organise. I have never been 
able to answer those arguments, and never could 


find anyone who could. If any such person ex- 
istsy the occasion calls for him, and I believe The 
Open Court will be open to him." 




" Some time ago, Dr. Isaac K. Funk, of the well- 
known publishing firm, submitted to us evidences 
of spirit communication concerning an ancient He- 
brew coin called *the widow's mite,' which had 
been used by Funk & Wagnalls for illustration in 
their Standard Dictionary. Dr. Funk was re- 
minded of the coin in a spiritualistic seance of an 
unprofessional medium who spoke in the name of 
the late Henry Ward Beecher, claiming^that it had 
never been returned to its owner. The medium's 
claim (or shall we say the claim of Mr. Beecher's 
spirit) was substantiated, for the coin was discov- 
ered in the safe of Funk & Wagnalls, where it had 
lain unheeded for nine y^rs, and it was now duly 
returned to the owner or his heirs. 

" Dr. Funk submitted the case and its value as 
evidences of genuine spirit communication to a 
large number of scholars, scientists, experts, psy- 
chologists, etc., and then published the whole ac- 

1 Dr. Paul Cams. This " reply " appeared in the same 
issue as the foregoing criticism. — H. C. 


count, together with these opinions, in a book called 
The Widow*s Mite. The case was also referred 
at the time to the editor of The Open Courts but 
his reply was too uncompromising to recommend 
itself for publication. It admitted the strange- 
ness of the occurrence, provided that there was 
neither error in th^ facts, nor fraud, but it de- 
clared that a cross-examination of the several per- 
sons involved would be indispensable, and this be- 
ing excluded we had to abstain from giving a 
definite verdict on the merits of the case. The 
book now lies before us, but the evidence being 
still hedged in with ' if s ' and * buts ' we cannot 
regard it as convincmg. Considering the unsat- 
isfactory character of a negative verdict, we de- 
layed our review and kept the book on our shelf 
without being able to sum up the case in a state- 
ment which would do justice to Dr. Funk's zeal 
and circumspection, yet also point out the weak 
spot of his argumentation. 

'' At this juncture Mr. Wakeman's article came 
to hand and forced the issue again upon our 
attention. His verdict is very direct and simple. 
Quoting Haeckel he denies the possibility of the 
occurrence, and hence refuses to consider the argu- 
ment. There must be an error somewhere, and 
thus the case is disposed of. 

Now we agree with Mr. Wakeman on the main 



point. We, too, believe that there must be an 
error somewhere; but we think it equally certain 
that there must be a truth in a theory which, in 
spite of its crudity, exercises an enormous influ- 
ence over multitudes of people, among whom we 
encounter men of business sense like Dr. Funk, 
and scholars such as Hyslop and James. There 
is a deep-seated natural longing for immortality, 
and we believe that although untenable in the 
shape in which it is commonly held, it is based 
upon fact. There is an immortality of personal 
character — different though it may be from the 
popular conception. 

*' Professor HaeckePs argmnent that there is no 
immortality is wrong and can easily be refuted. 
He declares that soul is a function of the brain, 
accordingly the soul is lost with the decomposition 
of the body. 

" Now, it is true that the soul is our thinking, 
feeling and willing. But we must bear in mind 
that the soul is not the brain, but the purpose we 
pursue in life and the meaning which our thoughts 
possess, both being represented in certain forms 
of brain operation. There is no thinking with- 
out brain, but the brain is only the material con- 
dition in which thinking is realised. The thoughts 
themselves are not material. 

" Let us use the analogy of a book. The book 


itself, or rather the soul of the book, consists of 
ideas which are expressed in the printed words. 
Ideas cannot be communicated without some sen- 
8017 means, and a material of some kind is needed 
as a substratum to render them somehow actual 
and to convey them. We can bum a book, but we 
cannot bum the ide€is expressed in it. If a poet 
writes a poem on a sheet of paper the writing may 
become illegible, but the poem need not be lost ; it 
can be copied and it remains the self -same poem. 

" The same is true of the soul of man. Soul is 
the meaning and purpose of some living sub- 
stance. It is not the substance, but that unsub- 
stantial something which gives character to it, and 
anyone who declares that it is non-existent because 
it is purely formal and relational, and not mate- 
rial, would be driven to the paradoxical conclusion 
that the non-existent is more important in the 
material world than all the innumerable concrete 
material objects. The essential part of our own 
being is not the material aspect of our cerebral 
activity, but the contents of our thought, the pur- 
pose of our will, the leading motive of our senti- 
ments, which factors in their bodily actualisation 
are, of course, always of a definite structure. 

** Now Professor Haeckel will not dispute this 
point, but he insists that this cerebral structure 
which is the physical aspect of the soul will be 


destroyed, and being destroyed the soul is lost and 
gone forever. But we claim the same kind of a 
brain constitutes the same kind of a soul, and that 
the reappearance of the same form of brain func- 
tions denotes the rebirth of the same souL Pro- 
fessor HaeckeFs arguments would be correct if 
identity of soul depended upon an identity of the 
bodily elements, but that is not so. 

" We ought to grant that we are dying at every 
minute and that a new soul is being bom in place 
of the other, for our cerebral substance is decom- 
posed in the very act of thinking and the particles 
that are now functioning are at once changed into 
waste matter and are discarded from our system. 
In a certain sense it is quite correct to say that 
life is a constant dying — media in vita nos in 
morte sumus; but in another sense, and with no less 
truth, we can also say, * There is no death ; what 
seems so is transition.' 

" It is well known that all the atoms of which 
our bodies* are composed will change in the average 
within seven years. If the material elements, and 
not the form in which they are grouped, be the 
essential part of our existence, we ought to con- 
sider ourselves new personalities as soon as the 
last atom of our former existence has passed away. 
The transition is slow and almost imperceptible, 
but it takes place none the less, and that after all 


we recognise our identity throughout all these 
changes is the best evidence that the material por- 
tion of our being is of secondary consideration. 

^^ Birth and death are the limits of individual ex- 
istences, but we know perfectly well that we have 
not risen from nothingness and in the same way 
that we originated from prior conditions and are 
the continuation of former soul-life — so we are 
not annihilated in death and shall continue in the 
life of the generations to come. 

*' Neither is birth an absolute beginning nor 
death an absolute finality. They are the limits of 
a series the character and form of which is deter- 
mined by former lives, and our life is again deter- 
mining the life of the future. Every individual 
is a link in the great chain of the whole life of 
mankind. The life of the individual is formed 
and in its turn is forming again, so as to produce 
a continuity in which the old forms of life are 
preserved, being modified only by receiving new 
additions and being enriched with further details. 
Thus the soul of Christ is a living presence in all 
Christian souls, and Christ's promise is literally 
fulfilled when He says : ' And lo, I am with you 
alway, even unto the end of the world.' But in 
the same sense a father and a mother live on in 
their children, a teacher in his pupils, each one in 
the memory of his friends, martyrs and heroes in 


their cause, etc. And this immortality is not an 
illusion, nor a mere phrase, but a living power 
exercising a decisive influence upon the actions of 

*^ If Professor Haeckel were right, if the disso- 
lution of the body ended all, constituting death a 
finality, we would not care what might occur when 
we are gone. The truth is that people are not 
indifferent to what will happen after their death. 
According to their different characters they en-* 
deavour to perpetuate their souls — and in this 
they succeed. Whatever a man does lives after 
him according to the nature of his deeds, and 
these deeds, the traces which they produce, the 
memories which they leave, the effects in which 
they are perpetuated, are nothing foreign to him, 
but in them dwells the quintessence of his soul. 
It is he himself. 

" Just as an inventor who has built up a factory, 
to actualise his invention is a living presence in 
every department of the plant, although bodily 
he may be absent, so the soul of man remains an 
efficient factor in life, although he may be over- 
taken by death and rest from his labours. 

" Now, we grant Mr. Wakeman that from our 
standpoint a communication of a spirit through 
a medium in the way described by Mr. Funk 
should be considered an impossibility, but far from 


ridiculing Mr. Funk's attempted investigation I 
feel grateful to him for having ventured into the 
desert of vain speculations — only to find out the 
uselessness of his labours. He may not see the 
result himself as yet, but others do ; and it is cer- 
tainly necessary that all avenues of advance should 
be reconnoitred, even those which a sound scien- 
tific prevision condenms as hopeless. Those who 
undertake this thankless task are naturally enthu- 
siasts and believers in the improbable. Their 
work is certainly not useless, for they call atten- 
tion to the one-sidedness of the opposite view, and 
certainly deserve credit for the apagogic proof 
of an untenable position. 

'^Mr. Funk's hope may prove an illusion, but 
Mr. Wakeman will pardon us ior saying that his 
venture of establishing a proof of immortality — 
albeit of a counterfeit soul — should not be 
branded as a ^joke.' I myself made investiga- 
tions along the lines of the Society for Psychical 
Research in what now appears to me an immature 
period of my life; but though I have surrendered 
the expectation of finding anything in that waste 
and sterile field, I deem it wise from time to time 
to study critically the work of others and see 
whether they have furnished the world with new 
facts that would necessitate a revision of our pres- 
ent views. Their views may be untenable from 


the standpoint of science, yet our own view may 
also stand in need of emendation, or at least modi- 

" As to Mr. Funk's book I can only say that I 
fail to be convinced by his arguments. I will 
grant that the proof would be fairly complete if 
there were not ample scope for doubt on many 
points where a cross-examination of the persons 
involved would throw new light upon the case. I 
feel convinced that though it will impress the be- 
liever favourably, it will never convert the scoffer; 
and whether the impartial reader standing between 
the two opposite positions will be affected, remains 
to be seen. 

" I have learned from the book to appreciate the 
power of the belief in immortality, prompting a 
business man to go out of his way and collect the 
minutiae of so slender an evidence. This yearning 
for a personal immortality is as deep rooted as are 
the instincts of animals and I believe, as set forth 
above, it is well founded. Man feels that death 
does not end all, and so he expresses the truth of 
immortality in a mythical form, inventing the 
ideas of heaven and hell and representing the soul 
as a concrete being, built of some mysterious spir- 
itual substance. 

" Upon the whole it is even better that man 
should believe in a mythical immortality than that 


he should deny the truth of the myth itself, for the 
idea is not without importance and exercises a 
practical influence upon our actions and our gen- 
eral attitude in life. We conclude, therefore, with 
the question: Is it better and wiser, or, even 
merely more advisable, that a man should always 
act as though the end of life were an absolute 
finality, or, on the contrary, should he so act as 
constantly to consider the part which his life and 
all the results of his life will play in the world 
when he is gone? I know that Professor Haeckel 
himself cares very much for the after-effects of 
his life. 

'* The period after death is certainly longer, as 
Antigone says, than the brief span of our earthly; 

** * For longer time, methinks, have I to please 
The dwellers in that world than those in this.' 

And yet the mere duration is less important than 
the dynamical aspect of our soul-life after death. 
There is reason enough to say that if the idea of 
immortality deserves any consideration, it should 
furnish the ultimate tribunal before which all ques- 
tions of importance should reach their final de- 
cision. Indeed, I can give no better rule for test- 
ing the correctness of moral actions than that a 
man in doubtful cases should ask himself: ^How 


would you wish to have acted if your life were 
completed and you had passed away from the 
world below? ' Anyone who is influenced by such 
a thought believes in fact in the immortality of 
the soul, though in his words he may flatly deny^ 
and ridicule it/' 

To these articles I replied in The Open Court for 
November, 1905, as follows : 


" The attitude of mind assumed by Mr. Wake- 
man in his criticism of Dr. Funk's book. The 
Widow's Mite, is quite understandable, very hu- 
man, and — from one point of view — thoroughly 
justifiable. Mr. Wakeman's attitude may be 
taken, I believe, as fairly representing the average 
scientific mind of to-day; that of Dr. Cams as a 
typical scientific-philosophical mind. I shall de- 
vote a few words, first, to a consideration of the 
remarks of each of these gentlemen, before stat- 
ing my main contention — which is, namely, that 
the majority of The Open Court readers do not 
look at psychical research phenomena in the proper 

1 A brief criticism of the articles on this subject by Thad- 
deus B. Wakeman and the Editor of The Open Court in the 
number for Jun^ 1905. 


spirit, or study them from the particular point 
of view of the psychical researcher. 

•* Mr. Wakeman's main contention is, of course, 
that the majority (not all, but the majority) of 
scientific men, with the great Professor Haeckel 
at their head, have pronounced against the possi- 
bility of personal immortality; or of the existence 
of any such thing as * spirit * or * soul,' separ- 
able from its material encasement. I quite under- 
stand and appreciate the strength and the char- 
acter of the evidence upon which Mr. Wakeman 
relies for his dogmatic assertions — evidence im- 
doubtedly strong, positive, abundant, and lending 
a very strong impetus to the materialistic cause. 
It is true that there is another way of viewing 
these newer results of science — a method of inter- 
preting them which tells, not in favour of mate- 
rialism, but just the reverse; and it is also true 
that there are many weighty philosophic and meta- 
physical objections to the doctrine of materialism 
(meaning by this any system which excludes 
'spirit' as a separate essence or entity); but 
on these I ahkll not dwell here. In the first place, 
this is not the time or place for such a discussion ; 
and, in the second place, I am not at all sure my- 
self that these objections should carry weight, or 
even enter at all, into a scientific discussion. Sci- 
ence deals with facts^ and it is the fa€t of personal 


immortality that we must now consider from that 
particular scientific or critical attitude. 

" I can quite appreciate the repugnance Mr. 
Wakeman feels in discussing any such thing as 
•spirit* — I have experienced just such feelings 
myself and fully understand them. Let us, then, 
eliminate ^ spirit ' from our discussion and use the 
expression ' persistence of personal consciousness.' 
Haying thus eliminated the objectionable term, 
perhaps we may arrive at a basis for discussion. 

" The great point is, of course, that conscious- 
ness is indubitably bound up, in some way, with 
brain function ; and the scientific man asserts that 
thought — and so consciousness — is in some man- 
ner a product of tliis functioning, or, at least, so 
inseparably bound up with it that any existence 
apart from such functioning is unthinkable and 
altogether unwarranted. He asserts that thought 
is but one aspect of the nervous system's function- 
ing, and that when that functioning ceases, there 
is and can be, consequently, no more thought or 
consciousness. The conclusion is obvious, there- 
fore, it is claimed, that consciousness is obliter- 
ated at death, and, as Mr. Wakeman puts it, 
* After the death of Mr. Beecher there was, there- 
fore, no possible spirit, soul, or consciousness of 
him extant to bother or be bothered about his 
" widow's mite " or anything else.' 


^ Now my claim is this: that in such reasoning 
the cart has, figuratively speaking, been placed 
before the horse; and that a wrong course of ar- 
gument has been pursued. Instead of searching, 
impartially, for the facts in the case, an d priori 
denial of the possibility of such facts has been 
made — and, of course, if a fact is impossible it 
cannot exist! But how do we know that it is im- 
possible? At the most we can only raise a pre- 
sumption against its occurrence; and a dogmatic 
denial of its possibility has led science into great 
and preposterous blunders more than once. It is 
only necessary to recall such cases as the experi- 
ments of Galvani and, more recently, the questions 
of meteors, hypnotism, etc., to be assured of the 
accuracy of that statement. Of course, scientific 
reserve in the face of new and strange facts is 
always justifiable, but that is a different matter to 
flat d priori denial. But the point is that instead 
of securching for such facts as tend to prove man's 
immortality, the majority of scientists content 
themselves with declaring, without investigation, 
that sudi a condition is impossible — quite forget- 
ting the fact that logic shows us thlit it is impos- 
sible to prove a negative! 

" The psychical researcher also realises the 
strength of the scientific presumption against a 
future life of any sort, but says, * Nevertheless, 


here are certain well-evidenced facts which seem 
to prove such survival. If I can obtain enough 
and definite enough facts and evidence of this 
character, then the presumption will be overthrown, 
because we have certain facts which definitely prove 
it to be incorrect.' In short, the only method 
from which any conclusive result can follow is 
that in which all presumption is laid aside and 
deliberate experiment entered upon. That is the 
attitude of the psychical researcher. As I wrote 
some years ago, (ipropos of this very point, 
* Obviously, the only way to decide this question 
is, not to speculate d priori upon the possibility 
of spirit existence and reason frcnn that the pos- 
sibility of its return, but to test and establish 
the possibility of its return, from which we can 
argue (should that be established) that man has 
a spirit to return. Here, as before, it is merely a 
question of evidence.' 

" Now, of the character, the variety, and the 
strength of this evidence I cannot, of course, speak 
here. I must refer the interested reader to the 
eighteen^ printed volumes of the Proceedings of 
the Society for Psychical Research (S. P. R.), or, 
if this is too much to ask, I would suggest that the 
reader peruse Professor Hyslop's very excellent 
book entitled Science and a Future Life. Pro- 

1 Eighteen at that time (1905). 


fessor Hyslop handles this question in what is to 
my mind an ideal manner, and I cannot too 
strongly recommend it to the serious attention of 
the readers of The Open Court. 

*' To turn to the article by Dr. Cams. I am not 
quite sure that I fully understand his position in 
the matter. I take it to be (but I stand open to 
correction) that all personal or individual immor- 
tality is denied, but that the impression or im- 
print our life and personality has made upon 
the human race — or rather those of the race with 
whom we came into contact — constitutes the 
after-effects, or immortality, of which Dr. Cams 
speaks. Of course, no one would deny that 
kind of immortality in any case, but I venture 
to suggest that — for the individual concerned — 
such an immortality practically amounts to 
annihilation. Immortality without individuality 
is no immortality at all. I cannot now go into 
any detailed discussion of Dr. Cams' attitude, 
but I can only say that it does not at all 
appeal to me. Either the individual exists a^ 
iuchy or he does not. If not, it is practically an- 
nihilation so far as ^ is concerned. With this I 
leave that branch of the discussion, and will add 
a few final words as to the interrelation of brain 
and mind and the inferences that are drawn from 
the " admitted fact " of the correlation of mental 


states and cerebral cheuiges. For everj thought 
there is a corresponding change in the brain-sub- 
stance — from which the conclusion is drawn that 
^ when there is no more brain there can be no 
more thought or consciousness.' But does that 
follow? Because the two facts are always coin- 
cidentflJ, does it follow that the brain-change pro- 
duced the thought? By no means! We might 
urge, on the contrary, that the brain-change was 
merely the result of such thought; or that it was 
merely coincidental in time, without the one affect- 
ing the other, or that both are but aspects of 
something else. This fact of functional depend- 
ence has been looked at from one standpoint only. 
As Prof. William James remarked in his Hwman 
Immortality^ ^ it would appear that the supposed 
impossibility of its (the soul's) continuing comes 
from too superficial a look at the admitted fact 
of functional dependence. The moment we in- 
quire more closely into the notion of functional 
dependence, and ask ourselves, for example, how 
many kinds of functional dependence there may be, 
we immediately perceive that there is one kind, at 
least, that does not exclude a life hereafter at all. 
The fatal conclusion of the physiologist flows 
from his assuming off-hand another kind of func- 
tional dependence and treating it as the only im- 
aginable kind.' But this is altogether unwar- 


ranted and unjustifiable. I have elaborated a 
theory of consciousness, and of its relation to 
brain function, in my article on * The Origin and 
Nature of Consciousness/ ^ which accepts the fact 
of dependence, but endeavours to account for it in 
such a manner as would leave personality quite 
possible and immortality an open question — one 
that could then be determined by direct experi- 
ment. Mr. Wakeman must not misunderstand me. 
I am not arguing that the soul does exist, but 
merely that it is possible for it to exist; and this 
being the case, we should endeavour directly to 
experiment in those directions which hold out some 
hope of its proof as existent. Personally I do not 
particularly care whether the soul lives after the 
death of the body or not. To me, as I have 
repeatedly stated, it is merely a question of evi- 
dence — of verifiable fact. But I do object to the 
attitude of m^i who assert off-hand and d priori 
that such an existence is impossible, because I do 
not think that such a conclusion is either justified 
or warranted by the results of modem science, 
especially in the face of evidence now accumulated 
by the Psychical Research Society — of which I 
am an unworthy member.'* 

1 The Metaphysical Magazine, April-June, 1905, pp. 4^56. 


editor's reply ^ 

^^ Though I do not characterise my position as 
materialism, I feel convinced that Mr. Carrington 
would be obliged to call me a materialist accord- 
ing to his classification. According to my no- 
menclature, materialism^ is that view which at- 
tempts to explain the world from matter and 
motion, and omits the most essential character- 
istic of existence — the significance and reality of 
purely formal relations. But in spite of my ob- 
jection to materialism as a philosophical principle, 
I would not hesitate to deny the ghost existence of 
the soul which means that spirits could lead an in- 
dependent life without being somehow incarnated 
into bodily actuality. I recognise the spiritual 
and I claim that it alone possesses significance, 
while the material part of the universe and even 
energy amount to nothing unless guided by the 
will of spiritual purpose. Further I wish to state 
that Mr. Carrington has probably understood my 
position correctly in appreciating the significance 
of man's after-life, the reality of which, as he says, 
no one would deny. But he does not grasp the 
implications of this view, which might as well be 

1 Appearing in the same issue. — H. C. 

2 For details of my criticism as to the errors of the 
materialism of Carl Voigt, see Fundamental ProblefM, pp. 


stated in a negative form, declaring that the indi- 
vidual as a separate entity, a kind of thing-in-it- 
self, after the Vedantist atmany does not exist at all, 
so it could not survive. The first question to be 
solved is not whether or not the personality of 
man will live again, but what is the personality of 
man, how does it originate, and whence does it 
come? The solution of this will naturally an- 
swer the other question. Whither does it fare? I 
believe I have treated the subject with sufficient 
plainness in my little book Whence and Whither. 

'* The negative aspect which denies that person- 
ality is a thing-in-itself is misleading in so far as 
it seems to deny the reality of personality. If our 
soul is not a thing-in-itself it is still a fact of real 
life, and though that congregation of ideas, im- 
pulses, sentiments, and purposes which constitutes 
myself at the present moment will be broken up in 
death, it will nevertheless continue to constitute a 
factor in the world of living and aspiring man- 
kind, and it will continue to be accompanied by 
the consciousness of living generations just as 
much as my ideas are conscious in my own body. 
We shall be preserved entire and nothing will be 
lost in death of the essential features of our per- 

'* This view may be imsatisf actory to many peo- 
ple and may appear tantamount to extinction 


from the standpoint of those who are under the 
illusion that their personality is in the present ex- 
istence a thing-in-itself, and I would not deny 
that it is so; but I claim that kind nature has with 
seeming intention clothed the truth in the lan- 
guage of myth and has made mankind create dif- 
ferent allegories as to the nature of inunortality, 
making it more or less materialistic and sensuous. 
All the several religions present the truth of im- 
mortality in an artistic form which is only untrue 
if its symbolism is understood literally.^ 

" In Mr. Carrington's conception my views 
would probably appear identical with those of Mr. 
Wakeman, for like him I do not believe that spirits 
of the departed can be consulted or communicated 
with in the style of mediumistic stances, but I 
object to Mr. Wakeman's position in so far as I 
must emphatically declare that man's life is not 
finished at his death, that the after-life consti- 
tuted by the effects of life itself is a salient part 
of the present life and has to be constantly con- 
sidered in all our actions. A consideration of the 
status of our being after we are gone should be 
the supreme motive of all our principles, and I 

1 When this discussion in The Open Court was in progress, 
I sent copies of all the magazines to Dr. Hodgson, and 
received from him a congratulatory letter, at the end of 
which he characteristically remarked: "What Dr. Cams 
calls * immortality ' has always amused me." 


would not hesitate to say that it constitutes the 
basis of all true morality. 

** I have followed with great interest the work of 
the Society for Psychical Research, but I must con- 
fess that I do not deem its results as assured as do 
many of its enthusiastic members. So far as I 
can see they are of a negative nature and dispro- 
portionately small to the enormous output of la- 
bour and expense." 

As this criticism merely reiterated certain con- 
tentions which I deemed to be untenable — for the 
reasons above pointed out — I did not write a 
reply to it, since I did not think it necessitated 
one. Mr. Wakeman, however, returned to the at- 
tack, and in an article entitled ^^ Human Immor- 
talities, the Old and the New," he writes, in part, 
as follows: 



That article ^ on The Widow's Mite explained 
and applied the laws of science to the belief in the 
old immortality ; viz. : 

** 1. The law of induction from the facts. 

*' 2. The law of equivalent, continuous correla- 

1 7. e,, the first criticism to which Mr. Wakemcui had just 


" 8. The law of economy, or non-repetition in 

^^ It was shown that under these laws the old im- 
mortality was an absolute impossibility, unless 
their application could be avoided ; and the prayer 
was that this (if possible) should be done at once, 
or that intelligent people should drop the old and 
turn to the new belief. 

^^ This challenge has been before the public for 
years without even an attempt at an answer; and 
the default of the old belief had been taken there- 
upon, as far as such a thing could be. But 

44 4 Truth can never be confirmed enough. 
Though doubts did ever sleep.* 

** It was very pleasing, therefore, to find in the 
last November number of The Open Court an ar- 
ticle on * Immortality ' by Mr. Hereward Carring- 
ton of the Society for Psychical Research, In which 
he refers to my article as one of * dogmatic asser- 
tions,' but tells us that in the Metaphysical Maga- 
zine for June last he had * elaborated a theory of 
consciousness and of its relation to brain function 
which accepts the fact of dependence, but endeav- 
ours to account for it in such a manner as would 
leave personality quite possible and immortality 
an open question — one that could then be deter- 
mined by direct experiment.' He says that he 


does *not ar^e that the soul does exist, but 
merely that it is possible for it to exist.' 

" When his article referred to appeared in that 
mag€Lzine the author, or someone, kindly sent it 
to me. Had it seemed to me to make the old im- 
mortality * possible ' I should so have announced 
without delay, but it did nothing of the kind. 

^^ That article contains an account of the errors 
of scientists during the * unknowable,' * inconceiv- 
able,' and ^ inexplicable ' stages of their attempts 
to apply the correlative * key law ' of the uni- 
verse. Their struggles there shown with ' princi- 
pies,' * forces,' * energy,' * thing-in-itself ,' * mind- 
stuff,' * spirits,' * auras ' and * entities ' generally, 
show us what not to get befogged with, and that 
a new and up-to-date edition of the late Prof. E. 
L. Yoiunan's book on correlation (published by 
Appleton) is most desirable. Finally we reach 
the author's said * theory ' in these words : 

** * And, whereas it must be admitted that thought 
is, in one sense or another, a ^^ function " of the 
brain, a very different statement of the case, from 
that generally held, may be made as follows : In- 
stead of consciousness or thought being a function 
of the nervous tissue, the perception of a sensation 
through nervous tissue is a fimction of conscious- 
ness; that is to say, consciousness is independent 
of nervous tissue and uses nervous tissue to perceive 


with. In this sense our two brains — for we have 
two — would be the instruments of consciousness, 
but are not conscious themselves; just as our eyes 
are the instruments of sight, but do not themselves 
see; in the same way that a microscope is the in- 
strument for magnifying minute atoms of matter, 
but cannot itself see and appreciate the magnificaf 
tion. Why? Because it has no consciousness of 
its own.^ 

** This * theory ' or hypothesis seems to me to be 
upset at the start and to be useless child's play; 
for it asserts that * consciousness or thought ' — 
treating them as one — are * independent,' * instead 
of being functions of the nervous tissue.' Yet at 
the start we read that ^ it must be admitted that 
thought is, in one sense or another, a function of 
the brain.' But the brain is simply active nervous 
tissue. This proven and admitted fact contradicts 
and makes the proposed theory of an independent 
consciousness impossible. 

" Next we are told that the consciousness would 
use * the nervous tissue to perceive with.' But 
that is immaterial. Consciousness may do thai 
and a thousand other things, and yet be the active 
process and function of the brain's nervous tissues. 
We are told that it would be * just as our eyes arc 
the instruments of sight, but do not themselves 
see.' But our sight is the seeing, is action, and 


not a thing, and has no eyes as ^ instruments.' 
It is simply the activity of the nervous tissues of 
the eyes and brain when light vibrations reach 
them. Our consciousness comes about in a similar 
way, from those and from countless other vibra- 
tions. It is proven to be a correlating process — 
a go and not a thing. It is rudimentary in some 
plants, higher in animals, and highest as the action 
of the human nervous tissues. That it survives 
each plant, animal, or hiunan being after death as 
a ghost to be caught by the Society for Psychical 
Research is, as Professor Haeckel says, * perfectly 
absurd' — that is, too absurd for anything but 
silence. It can only catch the ear of those who, 
like Columbus' crew, wish to slink back to some 
imaginary Eden, or heaven, instead of pressing 
forward to enjoy and people the new and real 

To this I replied as follows : 


" I should like to reply to that part of Mr. 
Wakeman's article on * Human Immortalities ' that 
directly concerns my own position as stated in the 
November number of The Open Court. 

** I take exception to no portion of Mr. Wake- 

1 The Open Court, April, 1906. 


man's paper save that under the heading of ^ Sci- 
ence and Sentiment,' and even here I can quite 
see and appreciate Mr. Wakeman's attitude of 
mind, which, as I before Itated, is thoroughly un- 
derstandable. I would point out, however, that 
Mr. Wakeman, in his reply, has in no wise an- 
swered my objection to his position, as stated in 
my own criticism, which was, namely: ^That the 
majority of The Open Court readers do not look at 
psychical research phenomena in the proper spirit, 
or study them from the particular point of view of 
the psychical researcher.' 

^^ Mr. Wakeman confines his criticism of my pre- 
vious article to my other article on * The Origin 
and Nature of Consciousness,' to which I referred 
in my discussion, and has limited his critidsm to 
my viewpoint, as expressed in that article, and to 
the theory I there maintained; and has not at all 
answered the primary objection I raised in The 
Open Court y as to the attitude of mind assumed by 
himself and others towards the possibility of im- 
mortality. Before discussing this at greater 
length, I should like to reply briefly to the criti- 
cism as raised by Mr. Wakeman of my theory of 
consciousness, and its relation to brain-function. 
In stating that * it must be admitted that thought 
is in one sense or another a function of the brain,' 
I did not intend to imply, and in fact my whole 


article was against the assumption, that the thought 
was the product of the brain functioning, and I 
then pointed out that the functioning might be 
connected with states of consciousness in alto- 
gether another way than in the relation of pro- 
ducer and produced, and that it was at least con- 
ceivable that this functioning, accompanying all 
thought, is but coincidental with the thought — 
not necessarily its producer, but conceivably the 
produced, the thought being the real causal agency ; 
or that both are but aspects of something else, 
differing from both in its underlying reaUty, 
just as the tremors of a violin string are perceived 
by us as sound and as more or less visible vibror- 
tions of catgut, according to whether the ear or 
the eye interprets these vibrations; and, though 
they appear to us as dissimilar as possible, they are, 
it will be seen, but the differing aspects, or subjec- 
tive methods of interpretation, by ourselves, of the 
same physical cause. Thus it may be that con- 
sciousness and brain functioning, though appar- 
ently so dissimilar, are ultimately one and the 
same thing at basis, the two being but the dif- 
fering ways in which the same cause is interpreted. 
I admit that the brain is simply ^ active nervous 
tissue; ' but this simply states the condition of the 
physical brain at the time of thinking — upon 
which I would insist as much as Mr. Wakeman — 


I- <iiy on this question is that 

.1. II point of time. 

. i^l-».a: with Mr. Wakeman in his 

"• .,.:c is seeing", is action, and 

•..- "o oves as instruments ; it is s 

. ::io nervous tissues of the evt 


^■:z vibrations reach them' (p. 

.i: the activity of the eyes has 

^ :o do with the sensation of 

... -s associated only with the ac 

.-v»:!iwrv in the brain, and the 

. ^..■..c :o that centre certain vibra 

: .1 nen'ous activity with whic 

._ 'w is associated, but the eves 

•> with the state of conscioi 

vt-v Transmitters or instruments 

.x^ii.; u'^vn; and that the consciou 

-«.<.■ :!jC, IS associated only with a< 


centre ' 
brain I 

matter 7. :-u. 

•.• •• I 

Si^L La'^.-^-..* .. ••• .. .• • .... -_i... -• mm. m 


not m fwr.^ ^-.. ..*-.•..-.-■_ • .' _.•■..-• 

the con-c::::- *::.:-j -ir. .-r. :: _- l- :*. r — . : ". -. :' 
si;jht. I CO :.:: r^:. r.r..-..-. .-:~ . ..' i. -v..:: 
can pronounc-r uj-ir. :..r " .::y.-i-''. . :" " :: :•-- 
sciousness per*i*::r.^ ^p .\r: :'r : :_: : r . .i : -.". :'. " ".*, 
unless he is cr:;:::*::-r.:. ?::::r ill ^.« ir^:"::i-« 
can ever lead to :s ::.•:- s:::r.::r.: :— . r-:": . '■:■. :: 
such persi."5tence, and t:.:.* fri.rr:"': .•.'-. 1^:7 "s":!!. ia 
turn, rest not on philorjcphic sp-rcul"i:::r.. hu: oa 
the presence or absence of rccts tending to *hoTr 
that such persistence of consc:ou?ne>>, ap.irt from 
brain function, is a fact in nature. 

"Mr. Wakeman savs there i^ no such evidence: 
ve psychical researcl.ers say there is — not that the 
evidence is absolutely conclusive, but that it is sug- 
gestive, and at least renders such persistence of 
personality a probability ; and this brings nie to my 
last point, to which I have been working through- 
out this chapter. I do not think the question of 
survival or non-survival can ever be settled by 
philosophic or metaphysical speculation. Mr. 
Wakeman might produce arguments against its 

A t 



for it is always in connection with this activity that 
thought is associated in this life; but it does not 
prove that the activity produced the thought, as 
I have before pointed out, but merely that it is co- 
incidental with it. There is absolutely no proof 
that the nerve activity produces the consciousness ; 
all we can ever say on this question is that they 
are coincidental in point of time. 

'' I do not agree with Mr. Wakeman in his state- 
ment that ^ Sight is seeing, is action, and not a 
thing, and has no eyes as instruments ; it is simply 
the activity of the nervous tissues of the eyes and 
brain when light vibrations reach them' (p. 109). 
I must insist that the activity of the eyes has abso- 
lutely nothing to do with the sensation of con- 
sciousness ; that is associated only with the activity 
of the sight-centre in the brain, and the eyes 
merely transmit to that centre certain vibrations, 
arousing in it a nervous activity with which the 
sense of sight is associated, but the eyes have 
nothing to do with the state of consciousness. 
They are merely transmitters or instruments, as I 
before insisted upon; and that the consciousness, 
the idea of seeing, is associated only with activity 
of the sight-centre in the brain is proved by the fact 
that in hallucinations, when this sight-centre is 
morbidly excited, the sensation of sight is expe- 
rienced mthotit vibrations reaching the sight- 


centre through the eye, or without the rest of the 
brain being involved in the slightest degree. No 
matter how the sight-centre is aroused into activity, 
it is the activity with which thought is associated, 
and with the activity of that centre only. I must 
insist therefore, that eyes are * instruments,' and 
not in any way associated with, or producers of, 
the conscious state known to us as the sensation of 
sight. I do not see, finally, how Mr. Wakeman 
can pronounce upon the " impossibility '* of con- 
sciousness persisting apart from brain functions, 
unless he is omniscient, since all his arguments 
can ever lead to is the scientific vmprobability of 
such persistence, and this improbability will, in 
turn, rest not on philosophic speculation, but on 
the presence or absence of facts tending to show 
that such persistence of consciousness, apart from 
brain fimction, is a fact in nature. 

** Mr. Wakeman says there is no such evidence ; 
we psychical researchers say there is — not that the 
evidence is absolutely conclusive, but that it is sug- 
gestive, and at least renders such persistence of 
personality a probability ; and this brings me to my 
last point, to which I have been working through- 
out this chapter. I do not think the question of 
survival or non-survival can ever be settled by 
philosophic or metaphysical speculation. Mr. 
Wakeman might produce arguments against its 


probability and I for it indefinitely, and we shordd 
probably both, in the end, be all the more solidly 
grounded m our own beUef s. 

^^ I think that the only way this matter can ever 
be settled is by resolutely putting aside aU philo^ 
sophic and other preconcepticms, and by turning to 
direct investigation of evidence and of facts that 
may be forthcoming — tending to show that such 
persistence of consdousness is an actual fact. -If 
these facts are ever established, then all specula* 
tion is mere child's play and conclusively disproved 
by the evidence in the case. 

^^ As a member of the Psychical Research Society 
I must insist upon this being the only attitude in 
which to approach this problem, and only by such 
direct evidence can this fact ever be definitely set-* 
tied one way or the other." 



^ ^ JUST as chemistry arose from alchemy,^ 
^ says Dr. Bramwell/ ** astronomy from as- 
trology, and the therapeutics of to-day were for- 
merly represented by disgusting compounds which 
were drawn from the living or dead human body, 
so hypnotism had its origin in mesmerism." 
Though mesmerism was characterised by many 
absurd pretensions, and did not receive the accept- 
ance of the scientific world in its day, hypnotism 
now receives the serious attention of the great 
majority of scientific men, — and, in fact, its phe- 
nomena have now gained general recognition, as 
facts. Just here, before discussion goes further, 
it may be as well to point out the distinction 
between mesmerism and hypnotism, and to make 
clear the subject we are to discuss. Mesmer- 
ism, as taught by Mesmer, from whom it re^ 
ceived its nam^ stated that there was a kind of 
universal magnetism present in every living and 
dead body, not only in this earth, but even in the 
most distant stars in space throughout the uni- 
verse, and that this magnetism might be collected 

^Hypnotism, p. S» 



and centered by one individual, to a large extent, 
and directed by him in a certain channel, for useful, 
curative purposes. Mesmer conceived this mag- 
netism to be more or less fluidic or semi-material in 
its character, and in this respect it differs entirely 
from hypnotism, which is regarded as a purely psy- 
chological phenomenon by the majority of its inves- 
tigators, and is in no way related to any physical 
influence or affluence at alL This is the principal 
mark of distinction between the two theories; one 
stands for the physical influence, the other for the 
purely psychical. The Abb^ Faria, in 1814, first 
suggested that the phenomena observed in the mes- 
meric state were almost entirely subjective, u e* 
psychological, and not due to physical cause; but 
his teachings were almost entirely lost sight of in 
the next thirty years, during which period the 
mesmeric school received a fresh impulse, owing to 
the magnificent work of Drs. Elliotson and Esdaile, 
who performed numerous operations during mes- 
meric trance, having produced, apparently, com- 
plete anaesthesia in their patients during such op- 
erations. The theory was not revived until Dr. 
Braid, of Manchester, England, published his fa- 
mous book entitled Neurypnology^ or the Rationale 
of Nervous Sleep, In this book was advanced, for 
the first time, the psychological theory of hypno- 
tism in a thoroughly scientific manner, and though 


Dr. Braid received, of course, the sneers and oppo- 
sition of the medical profession at the time, it may 
be safely stated that the general acceptance of 
hypnotic phenomena dates from the publication of 
this work. Shortly after the attention of the 
scientific world had been drawn by the evidence to 
an investigation of hypnotic phenomena, however, 
it was again forcibly diverted by the discovery, at 
about this time, of chloroform and other anaesthet- 
ics, which placed in the hands of the physician a re- 
liable means of inducing this condition, without 
attempting the uncertain methods that Braid advo- 
cated for inducing the anaesthetic state; and al- 
though hypnotism continued to be investigated by 
individuals and to receive its staunch supporters, 
especially in France and Grermany, the interest in 
the subject practically died out in England, and 
was not revived until the announcement that Dr. 
Charcot of La Salpetriere Hospital had become 
convinced that there were displayed, in hypnotic 
states, certain interesting nervous conditions which 
claimed the attention of the scientific and medical 
worlds, being undoubtedly genuine. This at dnce 
revived the interest, and the medical world was 
finally convinced that there was, in hypnotism, 
more than trickery and charlatanism, and its scien- 
tific investigation dates from that period. I can- 
not, in this chapter, do more than refer to the ex- 


cellent work that has been done since that time by 
various continental workers, and especially by the 
* Nancy School' (the greatest modem advocates 
of the theory of suggestion), but I shall confine 
myself to the work that has been done in England 
and America, largely by the Society for Psychical 
Research, through whose influence the phenomena 
of hypnotism were largely brought to public at- 
tention, and through whose careful and painstaking 
and most excellent work hypnotism received its just 
appreciation and ultimate acceptance. In this field 
the early experiments of Edmimd Gumey and the 
brilliant theoretical pai)ers of Frederic Myers de- 
serve the utmost commendation and whole-hearted 
praise. The general phenomena of hypnotism are 
now so well understood that it is hardly necessary 
to refer to them in a paper of this character, 
since there is hardly a reader, probably, who has 
not some idea of their general nature as observed by 
the outsider, or who has not seen such experiments 
performed. Public entertainers delight in showing 
the extent of the influence they exert over their 
patients, inducing in them hallucinations and il- 
lusions, as well as causing them to perform all 
sorts of ridiculous antics which are absolutely value- 
less, except to illustrate to the public mind the 
extent of the power of hypnotism. Briefly, it may 
be said that the uses of hypnotism are two: med- 


ical and psychological. In the former case anaes- 
thesia may be induced, alleviating pain or causing 
the patient to become insensible to the surgeon's 
knife or the dentist's forceps; thus enabling 
many difficult surgical and dental operations to be 
performed without the shock that would otherwise 
accompany them — and this without the harmful 
after-effects that would follow the administration 
of any of the dangerous drugs that are used to- 
day. And further, we know that the hypnotic 
trance can, when supplemented by forceful sug^ 
gestions, greatly benefit all nervous and functional 
diseases; while it is asserted in some quarters that 
organic diseases can also be cured in this manner 
— though the majority of medical men would 
doubtless take exception to this statement. The 
power for good in hypnotism has also been well 
illustrated in its ability to cure various habits and 
vices that have been contracted and found impossi- 
ble to eradicate by any other system of treatment. 
Many such cases have been reported, and on these 
grounds alone hypnotism should receive the wide 
support and sympathy of the public, instead of 
the intolerant prejudice and scepticism with which 
it is now received.^ 

1 For cases that have been cured by this method of treat- 
mentt see #. ff,. Hypnotism in Mental and Moral Culture, 
by Dr. J. D. Quackenbos; Hypnotiem and Suggestion, by 
Dr. Osgood Mason; Psycho-Therapeutics, by Dr. C. Lloyd- 


But to the psychologist or psychical researcher 
the great interest is in its theoretical side; in its 
ability to lay bare to us the inner workings of the 
mind, and enable us to explore the most hidden 
depths of man's personaUty. We know from 
other, independent sources that there is in man a 
subconscious stratum of mind that Mr. Myers 
pleased to call the ^ subliminal consciousness ' (from 
suby beneath, and Umen, a threshold). This mind 
is operative in dreams, in somnambulism, in trance, 
in many cases of split personality and secondary 
consciousness, etc., and, though these states may 
not, of course, all originate in the same stratum of 
the subconscious mind, they are all or almost ali, 
reachable, apparently, by hypnotism; and in this 
manner we have an experimental means of reach- 
ing the various parts of our subconscious mind, 
and, at will, investigating the workings of that 
portion of our hidden * selves.' This is a most im- 
portant aspect of the problem. Of late there has 
-been considerable discussion as to whether there is 
a continuous stream of consciousness active within 
ourselves, or whether these indications of the work- 
ings of a subconscious mind merely show that there 
are, at certain times, flashes of intelligence, — mere 

Tuckey; Suggestive Therapeutics, by Dr. Bernheim; Hypno- 
tism, by Albert Moll; Psychic Treatment of Nervous Dw- 
orders, by Paul Du Bois; etc. 


sparks, as it were, thrown off from the wheel of con- 
sciousness in its ordinary revolutions. The facts 
which the Psychical Research Society have accumu- 
lated prove conclusively, it seems to me, that this 
stratum of consciousness is continuous, and is not a 
mere flash of intelligence. Gumey proved this in 
a very ingenious manner. He hypnotised a subject 
and suggested to him that, after he was awakened 
and again in his normal condition, his hand would 
write out, automatically on a piece of paper, the 
answers to certain mathematical problems that had 
been set his hypnotic self. After this patient had 
been aroused, therefore, and was again in his 
normal state, and conversing freely, and at the 
same time that he was discussing topics of general 
interest, his hand was writing out the answers to 
these mathematical problems — showing that some 
portion of his mind was still actively at work in 
figuring the problems that had been set just be- 
fore he had been awakened; and in this manner it 
has been possible to ^ tap,' as it were, the subliminal 
consciousness, and to ascertain that it is a contin- 
uous stream, and not merely d fragment of our 
mind which was enabled to operate only when our 
normal consciousness was suspended. Another very 
interesting proof is found in the fact that, in 
many cases of double consciousness (where the mem- 
ory has suddenly been lost, and revived again only 


after an interval of some months, during which 
period the person has been living an altogether dif- 
ferent life — possessed, as it were, of another per- 
sonality) memory of this state has been artificially 
evoked through hypnotism, and the patient has been 
enabled to remember all that transpired in his sec- 
ondary state, and give an account of his actions, 
though the events that had happened in the inter- 
val were entirely unknown to, and unrecallable by^ 
his ordinary consciousness. Mr. Myers* idea was 
that the hypnotic self was not a different self, but 
merely the more inclusive ; it includes the conscious- 
ness which we know and which is operative every 
day within us — which latter consciousness he re- 
garded merely as a special section, so to speak, of 
our entire self — noted by us here more than any 
other portion or section for the reason that it is best 
adapted for the purposes of our every-day life. 
He regarded the subliminal self as possessing a far 
greater grasp of the mental and physical organism 
than our ordinary consciousness possesses; and 
this must naturally be so, since the latter is but a 
fragment of the former, according to him. This 
would seem to agree with the statement made by 
Dr. Bramwell.^ " The difference between the hyp- 
notised and the normal subject, it appears to me 
from a long series of observed facts, is not so much 

1 ProceedingB S. P. R., VoL XII, p. 33T. 


in conduct as in increased mental and physical 

When we come to the explanations of the nor 
ture of hypnotism, we encounter two opposite 
schools, which I may call, for our present purposes, 
the physiological and the psychological. Dr. 
Charcot was the originator of the former school, 
believing that hypnosis signified a more or less mor- 
bid condition, observable only in the hysterical — 
basing his theory upon the fact that in all the 
cases he had himself noted the patients had marked 
hysterical symptoms, and were more or less neurotic. 
This theory was completely refuted in the first place 
by Dr. Moll, who pointed out that all Charcot's 
subjects were hysterical, — which obviously nega- 
tived any results he might obtain, and forever dis- 
posed of this theory. Further Dr. Liebeault found 
that soldiers (presumably not a hysterical class) 
made very excellent subjects; and Mr. Harry Vin- 
cent has recently found that the same is true of 
university graduates. 

Dr. Heidenhain's physiological theory was dis- 
proved conclusively, it seems to me, by Gumey 
and Dr. Bramwell; while Dr. Ernest Hart's theory 
— of cerebral aniemia — carried with it its own in- 
nate disproof, for, as Prof. William James pointed 
out in his Patfchology^ decreased blood supply fol- 
lows, and is not the cause of, decreased nervous ac- 


tivity; while the reverse is also true: namely, that 
increased blood supply is the result of and not the 
cause of increased nerve activity. I cannot, in this 
chapter, review the various psychological theories, 
interesting as this might prove to be, but I shall 
conclude by outlining briefly Mr. Myers' theory of 
hypnotism, and its relation to the subliminal con- 

First of all, it was pointed out that sugges- 
tion does not cover all the facts of the case, as is 
commonly supposed — since the success of sug- 
gestion depends, not on the suggestion itself, but on 
conditions inherent in the subject; that is, the op- 
erator is merely the starter of the phenomena ob- 
served, and not their real agent; th^ phenomena 
are in reality the result of the inner workings of the 
subject's own being.^ The potentiality of hyp- 
notic phenomena lie, therefore, in the subject and 
not in the operator; and this fact Mr. Myers, in 
his customary beautiful language, pointed out as 
follows : 

" I regard sleep as an alternating phase of per- 
sonality — distinguished from the waking phase by 
the shutting off of the supraliminal life of relation 
of external attention, and by the concentration of 

1 Compare Occult Japan, p. 296: "In all cases the sub- 
ject really hypnotises himself. The art of the operator 
simply consists in getting liim, more or lees unwittingly, to 
do this." 


subliminal attention upon the profounder organic 
life. To sleep's concentrated inward attention I 
ascribe its unique recuperative power. . . . 
Trance is a further stage of sleep in the sense that 
it accomplishes more powerfully sleep's characteris- 
tic task; the subliminal plasticity is more marked, 
the subliminal control intenser ; until hypnosis some- 
times seems to be to sleep what sleep is to waking. 
. . . But how, after all, is this fuller control 
effected? How is the subliminal plasticity, this 
vis medicatrix naturce — actually reached? On 
this question Dr. Bramwell has demonstrated, with 
the advantage of actual experience, what some of 
us foreshadowed long ago — I mean the absolute 
insufficiency at present of any purely physiological 
explanation. No such explanation, indeed, now 
survives with apparent vitality to be worth the 
trouble of killing anew. The main consensus of 
living hypnotists declares that hypnotic phenomena 
are due to suggestion almost or quite alone. We 
need not reject that dictum, but we must make it 
our task to try and find out what that word * sug- 
gestion ' can mean. One thing the word certainly 
cannot mean, if it is to have any explanatory value 
at all ; and that is — mere ordinary persuasiveness. 
Dr. Bramwell (to take his own instance) is not the 
first person who has advised the dipsomaniac not 
to drink. If he succeeds in reforming such a pa- 


tient, it is because he has managed to touch, not 
his supraliminal reason, but his subliminal plastic- 
ity. He has set going some intelligent organic 
faculty in the man which has lain dormant until 
that moment, and which proves more effectual for 
healing than the man's conscious will. How, then, 
has he done this? He has either infused power, or 
he has merely invoked it. Either he has added 
power by some influence • • • or else, in some 
empirical way, not as yet understood, he has simplj^ 
started a self-suggestion; has unlocked, as I say, 
some fountain of energy which was latent within 
the man's own being. . • . Beneath the 
threshold of waking consciousness there lies, not 
merely an unconscious complex of organic pro- 
cesses, but an intelligent vital control. To incor* 
porate that profound control with our waking will 
is the great evolutionary end which hypnotism, by 
its group of empirical artifices, is beginning to 
help us to attain." 

The illusion that hypnotism is harmful or can in 
any way weaken the mental or moral will of the 
subject, or can in any way render him a ^ tool in the 
hands of an unscrupulous person ' must be thor- 
oughly disposed of and discredited. There is not 
one iota of evidence to show that such is, or ever has 
been, the case. " I have never seen," says Dr. 


Bramwelly^ ^* an unpleasant symptom even of the 
most trivial nature, follow the skilled induction of 

1 Proeeedinffs S. P. R^ VoL XII, p. 909. 



IF there is any one thing which the Society for 
Psychical Research can be accused of " trying 
to prove,'* it is most certainly Telepathy, since 
all its earlier work was bent in the direction of ex- 
perimenting in thought-transference, and the larger 
part of the labours of the Society were devoted to 
conducting experiments in this field. Since that 
time it has been used freely as an explanatory hy- 
pothesis in the Society's work, and, in spite of re- 
peated statements by the Society (as such) that 
it did not accept it as a proved fact, and especially 
that it held no theory as to its modus operandi^ the 
public has appropriated this theory of telepathy, 
and speaks of it as though it were a proved fact, 
established beyond controversy; and further, as 
though it were a definitely established principle that 
the action of telepathy is vibratory. Now all this 
is unwarranted, inasmuch as, even granting that 
the early experiments proved the reality of some- 
thing akin to thought-transference, no theory as 
to its actual nature has ever been forthcoming — 
none, at least, that has proved acceptable to the 
scientific world. Telepathy, in fact, is not, strictly 



speaking, an explanation of anything; when we 
use the term * telepathy ' we do not imply any di- 
rect explanation; it is merely a term used to ex- 
press the fact that there is some causal connection 
between two similar states of consciousness, occur- 
ring at the same time, in different individuals and 
not attributable to coincidence or chance — that 
is, all that telepathy does is to state the problem 
(that there is some connection between the two facts 
observed other than chance) : it in no wise shows 
what the explanation of this connection is. Of 
course, we may build up theories as to the operation 
of telepathy, and doubtless every one of us has some 
vague idea as to its modtis operandi^ but I must in- 
sist upon the fact that no such theory has received 
scientific verification in any single case, and all the 
talk we hear about ** thought vibrations,'* etc., is 
simply so much rubbish, put forward by men who 
do not understand the real scientific problems in 
the case, and who are using the term * vibration ' 
to build upon the credulity of the public, because it 
is a term that has some scientific meaning, and ap- 
pears to give some faint clue as to the method by 
which telepathy might possibly operate ; ^ but there 

1 A typical instance of this kind is Stocker's book Tele- 
pathy and in the chapt^ on this subject in his Sub- 
Co7Uciou8ne89, The fact that we know, as yet, nothing 
whatever about the action of telepathy was most forcibly 
pointed out by Miss Johnson, Journal S. P. R., VoL IX, 


is no scientific evidence, as I have before stated, 
that telepathy actually does operate in this way 
(even granting that it exists), and in fact, I might 
point out that there are many weighty objections 
to this theory of vibratory action. If we were to 
pursue the analogy further than the first crude 
statement (that vibration is the method of opera- 
tion in the case), we should find ourselves in hopeless 
difficulties, if not contradictions. Let us for a mo- 
ment pursue this line of argument and see whither 
it would lead us. In a wireless message, let us say, 
there is a transmitter and a receiver, and the only 
connection between the two is a species of ether 
vibration. Granting that some portion of the 
brain of one person might act as a transmitter of 
telepathic messages, and that another portion of 
another's brain might act as a receiver for these 
(though we have as yet absolutely no physiological 
evidence of this fact — but perhaps this would not 
invalidate the argument), and granting, further, 
that the ether might be capable of carrying such 
infinitely fine vibrations from one brain to another, 
there is still the practical difficulty, pointed out by 
Mr. Snyder in his New Conceptions in Science, 
that, though we can, by the aid of delicate instru- 

pp. 169-70, and b^ Dr. Hyslop in his Psychical Research 
and the Besurrectton, pp. 305-31. It is only fair to mysdf 
to state, however, that this chapter was written several 
years ago, and before Br. Hyslop^s article had appeared. 



ments, detect yibrations almost infinitely rapid and 
far beyond the range of our senses, yet these instru- 
ments cannot detect emy vibrations in the case of 
thought. Still I do not admit the entire validity of 
this objection, since, as Mr. Hutchinson points out 
-in his Dreams and Their Meanings (p. 194), the 
brain may be far more sensitive than any instrument 
— though the senses are not. The chief objection 
in my mind is that, in the case of the electrical mes- 
sage, vibration is a purely mechanical process, and 
in no wise carries intelligence with it; it is vibra- 
tion pure and simple. Now in the case of a sup- 
posed telepathic message, thought flashed from 
one brain to another must be supposed to convey 
with it intelligence of some sort; for if it were a 
purely mechanical vibratory action, I ask. How is 
it that this would impress another brain in such an 
entirely different manner from all other vibrations 
as to create in that brain, not only a thought, but 
the precise kind of thought that originated in the 
brain of the agent? Granting that the vibrations 
are but symbols, and that they are interpreted by 
our brains as ** things," the difficulty remains that, 
in all other cases, such vibrations, no matter what 
their intensity, convey to the brain the idea of ex- 
ternal objects^ or qualities of those objects, and do 
not convey to it the idea of mind or intelligence. 
How is it, therefore, that one particular species of 


vibration, which, we must assume, would vary more 
or less with each individual, can convey with it the 
idea of thought, and that this vibration is associated 
with mind, and in fact i$ thought, while all other 
vibrations in the world are in no wise connected with 
intelligence, and do not appear to us to be so con- 
nected; and, further, how infinitdy we should have 
to vary the degree and type of vibration which 
would have to correspond to all shades of thought 
and feeling and emotion! Sir William Crookes^ 
strongly urged the possibility of this vibratory 
theory of telepathy, but Mr, Myers* objections to 
it ^ (to my mind) outweigh and render altogether 
untenable this idea of the vibratory action of telep- 
athy; but on this point I would refer the reader 
to the book in question. 

Let us now go back and review very briefly the 
kind of evidence that exists in favour of telepathy. 
There is first the experimental evidence, in which 
one person, generally called an " agent," endeav-* 
ours to impress his thoughts upon another, gener- 
ally called a " percipient." The percipient then 
either describes or writes the impression he receives, 
and if it coincides with the thought of the agent, 
there is fair evidence for the action of telepathy. 

1 Presidential address to the Society for Psychical Re- 
search, in 1897. 

2 Hvman Personality, Vol. I, pp. 945-6. 


Of course^ before any such theory is established, 
there are many sources of error that must be eUmi- 
nated. In the first place, we must ascertain, by 
mathematical calculations, that the results are more, 
and veiy much more, numerous than can be ac- 
counted for by chance, since it is necessary to estab- 
lish, first of all, the fact that some law other than 
chance has been operative. After this has once 
been established, we must eliminate all ordinary 
chances of error, — such as conscious and uncon- 
scious fraud, muscle reading, hypenesthesia, and 
other such errors as the tendency of minds to run 
in the same channel,- aUowing a great number of 
coincidences to take place, owing to the similar op- 
erations of two minds acting quite independently 
of one another, and in no way dependent upon the 
operation of telepathy. After allowing for all of 
these factors, and while taking sufficient precau- 
tions to insure the fact that the results were not 
due to any of the above-mentioned errors, or to 
numerous others that will doubtless occur to the 
zeader, the Society for Psychical Research suc- 
ceeded in obtainiivg results which are many hun- 
dreds and thousands of times more numerous than 
would have occurred if due only to chance ; it was^ 
therefore, almost inevitable that they should con- 
clude that thought-transference was practically a 
proved fact. 


But thought-transference does not depend en- 
tirely upon this experimental evidence, though 
to the scientific world it must, of course, depend 
very largely upon it. Telepathy is evidenced by 
facts of every-day Uf e, and by a multitude of indi^ 
cations all pointing in the same direction and inex- 
plicable on any other theory. Without the experi- 
mental evidence, we should certainly be unwarranted 
in inventing that theory to explain the spontaneous 
cases, but, granting that certain experimental evi- 
dence for this faculty exists, we can extend it to 
cover cases of spontaneous telepathy, and expect to 
find many analogies. The great work that the 
Society for Psychical Research has done is collect- 
ing cases of such spontaneous telepathic action; 
such cases being very largely the action of one 
mind upon another at a supreme mental crisis — 
for example, the moment of death. In PhantasrM 
of the Living alone were published some 702 such 
cases; and these have been supplemented by many 
thousands of cases since collected and printed in 
the Proceedings and the Journal of the S. P. R., 
and in very many other books upon the subject that 
have recently appeared. The most common evi- 
dence of this kind is that afforded by apparitions 
at the moment of death, when a figure of the dying 
person is frequently seen by the percipient, who is 
generally some friend or relative of the dying per- 


son and so, we might fairly assume, en rapport with 
him. There is also evidence for a supernormal 
— probably telepathic — action in the many cases 
of automatic writing, in impressions and intuitions, 
in haunted houses, in crystal-gazing, in the Piper 
ease, and in many other mediumistic cases, as well 
as in many of the occurrences of daily life ; and it 
might almost be assumed that telepathic action is 
almost constantly taking place, unknown to us, 
since it operates, apparently, in some portion of 
our tmconscious mind and does not, except on 
very rare occasions, reach our ordinary waking 
consciousness. Of course, there is a tremendous 
diflFerence between experimental thought-transfer- 
ence and spontaneous telepathy, for this very 
reason; experimental thought-transference is di- 
rected entirely by our conscious minds (though 
it is probable that our conscious minds merely 
convey to the subconscious self the message which 
the latter carries), — but still there is a wide 
gulf between the experimental and spontane- 
ous cases. So great, indeed, is this apparent 
difference that some persons have decided that 
they do not belong to the same class, and are 
not, in fact, subject to the same explanation at 
all, the law operative in experimental and in spon- 
taneous telepathy being entirely different. While 
this difference is undoubtedly great, the difficulty is 


lessened when we consider the fact that there are 
several discernible states, stages or degrees be- 
tween the two, and we can almost follow the pro* 
cess step by step through the various '^transi- 
tional " cases, as they have been called, from the 
experimental to the spontaneous type. Such cases, 
for example, are those in which the agent has unUed 
an image or apparition of himself to appear to the 
percipient, and, though this was consciously initi- 
ated, the apparition did so appear at a time when 
the agent was in some unusual condition, — in aleep 
or hypnotic trance, etc. Here then we have a se- 
ries of cases in which a figure is perceived, as in 
spontaneous cases — the agent consciously willing 
it to appear before passing into trance, as in ex- 
perimental cases — while at the time of its actual 
appearance he was unconscious of the manifestation 
he was himself producing, as in spontaneous cases ; 
and such cases as these form a bridge between the 
two groups or classes — suggesting that the law of 
telepathy is equally applicable to both. Taking, 
then, this mass of experimental evidence, which 
the Society has accumulated in its Proceedings and 
Journals, and the tremendous number of cases of 
spontaneous telepathy, as well as the transitional 
cases quoted above, and such other cases as have 
been produced in dozens of other books, pamphlets, 
magazines and periodicals of all kinds, the evidence 


tor telepathy becomes, it seems to me, almost over- 
whelming, especially in view of the fact that appar- 
ently telepathic phenomena crop up in spiritistic 
seances ; while it explains many other supernormal 
phenomena which are hardly explicable by any 
other means — short of invoking some sort of 

Now if the fact of telepathy be a fact in nature, 
the problems opening before us in its investigation 
are of the most wonderful character, as well as 
of fascinating interest — taking us down to the 
very fountain of our mental life — the very core 
of our being. As I have before stated, however, 
very little progress has been made toward an ex- 
planation of the phenomena, the word * telepathy * 
simply implying a causal nexus and in no wise 
actually explaining the connection. The vibratory 
theory I have discussed briefly at the beginning of 
this chapter, and though it may ultimately prove 
correct, I am insisting upon the fact that we have 
at present no proof that it is the explanation, or 
that the vibratory theory can be used and said to 
be, in any sense, explanatory. 

The theory has been advanced that all minds 
are included in some vast cosmic consciousness or 
* world-soul ' — to which all consciousnesses ulti- 
mately lead as do the spokes of a wheel to the hub 
— and consequently that there is a constant connec- 


tion or interrelation of mind at one point, if we 
could but perceive such connection — it occurring, 
of course, in the subconscious part of our being 
and our conscious lives being but the offshoot of 
such larger consciousness. The theory does not, 
of course, state an impossibility, but the kind of 
scientific evidence that must be produced in order 
to prove it is almost idconceivable. We have been 
practically forced to discard the idea of any 
physical action of telepathy, in the ultimate analy- 
sis, when discussing this problem, and Mr. Myers' 
statement that telepathy indicates merely the 
fact that " life has the power of manifesting to 
life '• is about all we can say on the problem by way 
of explanation. Granting that mind can in some 
manner manifest to mind, other than by material 
means, how can such manifestation be conceived? 
Does one consciousness stretch out, as it were, and 
grasp the thought of the other mind (the per- 
cipient being in reality, it will be perceived, the 
active factor in such transmission, the agent be- 
ing merely the subject from whose mind the fact 
is grasped), or does the agent project the 
thought from his brain and impress the mind of 
the percipient with it, just as a bullet might be 
shot from a rifle, or light waves radiate from 
some centre? The first of these theories would 
be somewhat akin to true mind-reading, the other 



thought-projection or transference, and if the lat- 
ter theory be correct, is all thought directed into 
one single channel — at a target, as it were — or 
does it spread equally in all directions like all other 
vibratory radiations? It may be conceived that 
telepathy is a combination of the above two 
processes, it being a kind of mutual action, a pro- 
jection on the part of one, and a mental reception 
or grasping on the part of the other. If this is 
the case, we must conceive the thought as met, 
as it were, in space, and in some way joined or 
seized upon by the percipient thought; and how 
can we conceive such seizing or such perception? 
Speculations such as these would, of course, lead 
us into regions of the deepest mystery, to the 
most profound metaphysical speculation; and we 
should find ourselves far removed from the domain 
of science and critical philosophy. As it is not 
the province of this chapter to deal with that as- 
pect of the problem, I will leave the question of 
telepathy for the present as it stands — which is no 
more nor less than a statement of a scientific prob- 
lem to be solved by scientific methods. What 
might follow, were it to become an accepted fact 
of science, and the deeply important considerations 
into which we should be led in consequence, would 
form a most interesting study, and is one which 
I hope to consider at some future time. 



FOR some unknown reason, it seems to be con- 
sidered ^^ superstitious " by the majority of 
persons to consider or discuss sleep and dreams at 
all. Why this should be so is indeed a mystery, 
seeing that we spend a third of our lives asleep, 
and that most of us dream continually. It may 
not be known to the average layreader that the 
problems of sleep and dreams are now receiving 
thorough and scientific attention from some of the 
best minds of our time, and that the psychology 
of dreams is at present admitted to be a legitimate 
study. This being so, it may prove of value and 
interest to us to look into the question for a few 
moments, and see how far the accepted theories of 
sleep and dreams cover the facts, even of normal 
dreams and the phenomena of sleep. We shall 
then be in a better position to appreciate how lit- 
tle is really known of the subject, and the great 
interest, scientifically, that supernormal dreams 
have in throwing light on the obscure physiologi- 
cal and psychological processes involved. 

Innumerable are the theories of sleep! Until 
lately, very little was known of the real nature of 



sleep, and indeed it may be said that all that we 
know now is purely phenomenal, and suggests 
mere classification rather than explanation in the 
strict sense of the term. We are beginning to 
know fairly well some of the physiological pro- 
cesses that take place during sleep, but of its psy- 
chological aspects we are still in the blankest ig- 
norance. We know that the ordinary normal self- 
consciousness is absent; but whether this is in 
8ome way withdrawn or is actually extinguished, 
as a candle flame, we do not know. Then, too, 
there is a great deal of ^ consciousness ' about the 
organism while asleep. Contrary to general be- 
liefs, the body is not a mere aggregation of living 
matter during the hours of rest and sleep, but is, 
on the contrary, very actively conscious of stimuli 
from without, and even of what is transpiring in 
its immediate neighbourhood. This has fre- 
quently been demonstrated by means of artificial 
stimuli. The body of a sleeping man has been 
pricked, slapped, scorched, sounds made in the 
ear, scents held to the nostrils, etc., etc., and the 
results noted. It was almost invariably found 
that the dreams experienced by the sleeper were 
the result of the external stimuli — these being 
dramatised by the sleeping self and woven into a 
complex and dramatic whole. This clearly shows 
that there is some self or consciousnesik kf t, capa- 


ble of responding to external stimuli, and hence 
sleep cannot be the deep, * consciousless ' thing* that 
the majority suppose it to be. There is some con* 
sciousness still within and about the organism; 
and yet it is not «^Zf-consciousness. Here is evi- 
dently a deep mystery. There is present, at such 
times, a consciousness peculiar to itself, and which 
we might call ^dream-consciousness.' Close at- 
tention to the phenomena of sleep and dreams 
might reveal something of the nature of this 
dream-consciousness, its phenomena and extent; 
and this I propose to discuss, very briefly, in the 
present chapter. First of all, however, let us 
turn our attention to the bodily conditions that 
accompany sleep and see what these may be. 

Some authors have suggested that sleep might 
be due to the excessive functioning of the thyroid 
gland, but this was disproved by the fact that 
animals, in whom this gland was removed or atro- 
phied through disease, slept just as well as other 
animals. Then the theory was advanced that 
sleep was due to cerebral hyperaemia — an ex- 
cessive supply of blood in the brain, this being the 
real cause of sleep. This idea was held for a 
number of years, but was ultimately shown to be 
quite untrue, and a reverse condition was proved 
to be present during sleep — cerebral anaemia, or 
lack of blood in the brain, being invariably pres- 


ent during all normal sleep. It was consequently 
asserted that this was the cause of sleep — it be- 
ing caused by the cerebral anaemia. But it was 
pointed out, by Prof. William James and others, 
that this fact of cerebral anaemia proved nothing, 
inasmuch as the lessened blood supply would nec- 
essarily follow, and would not precede, the on- 
coming of sleep. That is, the nerve functioning 
would invariably lessen "flraty and the lessened 
blood-supply would follow later. This being the 
case, it is obvious that the theory of cerebral 
anaemia explained nothing; it stated a condition 
{one condition) that accompanied sleep, but did 
not explain its cause. The cause of the lessened 
nerve-functioning was still to be sought. 

Then came the innumerable chemical theories 
of sleep. It was held that certain poisons were 
formed within the system, as the results of the 
day's activities, and these poisons, acting upon 
the nerves of the brain, prevented their proper 
functioning; and this was consequently the real 
cause of sleep. This is a theory still held by 
many; but it does not explain many facts, it 
seems to me, and is not in accord with others. 
The fact that a mere effort of will can keep us 
awake would seem to refute this theory ; and so do 
the facts of hypnotic suggestion and the psy- 
chological activities that take place during sleep, 


— to say nothing of the supernormal powers ap* 
parently possessed by many during this period. 
Again, why is it that mere boredom or monotony 
will induce sleep — and this when the patient may 
have been up and awake only a short time? 
Again, it has never been explained why it is that 
bodily cleansing and eliminating measures would 
not remove sleepiness — or the causes of sleepiness 

— far more than any mere process of quiescence. 
Sleep is not merely a negative condition, it must 
be remembered, but a positive process -~^ one in 
which the most remarkable vital and physiological 
adjustments take place. A moment's loss of con- 
sciousness will sometimes refresh and invigorate 
us more than hours of rest and mere lying down; 
it is a period of great recuperation, and to assert 
that this state is merely the result of poisons 
formed within the body is simply nonsense. If 
sleep were merely a process of eliminating poisons, 
it is hard to see how such wonderful regenerative 
and recuperative changes could take place; it 
would take us every night to eliminate the poisons 
of the previous day; we should never improve 
at all, but, like Alice through the looking- 
glass, it would take all our running to keep in 
the same place! For these and other reasons 
therefore, this theory cannot be maintained, and 
we must seek elsewhere for a true explanation of 


sleep — which, I am convinced, will never be 
found in any purely materialistic scheme. Mr. 
Leadbeater, in his little book on Dreams has a very 
ingenious theory of sleep to offer, which might be 
Bummarised as follows: 

" Clairvoyant observation bears abundant testi- 
mony to the fact that when a man falls into deep 
slumber the higher principles of the astral vehicle 
almost invariably withdraw from the body, and 
hover in its immediate neighbourhood. Indeed, it 
is the process of this withdrawal that we com- 
monly call * Going to sleep.' " If this could be 
established (or some very similar theory) it would 
liccount for many of the facts of sleep and dreams, 
and is at all events ingenious and worthy of in- 
vestigation. This more mystical interpretation 
of sleep would not be in opposition to any of the 
inore physiological interpretations of the phe- 
nomena either. For example, I hold that " sleep 
is that physiological condition of the organism in 
which the nervous system of the individual (in 
precisely the same manner as the electric storage 
battery) is being recharged from without, by the 
external, all-pervading cosmic energy, in which 
we are bathed, and in which we live and move and 
have our being." ^ This would enable us at least 
to appreciate the fact that sleep is a far more com- 

1 VitaUty, FaHing and Nutrition, p. 309. 


plicated and mysterious process than it is univer- 
sally thought to be ; and so with this I pass on to 
a consideration of sleep's chief characteristic — 

" The student of psychology,** says Dr. Hy- 
slop, ^^has no perplexities with our ordinary 
dreams. He may not always be able to assign 
the exact cause for the matter of men's dreams, 
but he knows the general nature of the influences 
that determine their occurrence." ^ It is well that 
Dr. Hyslop used the guarded language he did, 
because, claiming as many do, that we know all 
about dreams and their causes, would be to claim 
a knowledge we do not possess. Take, for exam- 
ple, the common case of a dream, all the elements 
of which are past visual memories or experiences. 
Some of these are twenty years old, some ten days 
old, some barely an hour; and yet these are in- 
extricably bound together and intermingled, with 
no space or time-relation between the incidents, 
but all — old and new, false and true, vivid and 
indistinct — are blurred together in the dream by 
some law, or lack of law, that we cannot as yet 
fathom. Why should time and space be disre- 
garded in our dreams? I venture to think that 
even this well-known and common fact is ex- 
tremely suggestive — indicating that we are, in 

^Enigmas of Piychical Research, p. 144. 


our sleep, .closely in touch with a world in which 
time and space are not — at least in any such 
sense as we know them; and tiiis is greatly 
strengthened by the evidence which supernormal 
dreams afford. 

Before passing on to these, however, let us first 
consider the psychology of certain dreams that 
nearly every person experiences at one time or an- 
other in his life. Mr. Horace 6. Hutchinson 
has written a very interesting book on this subject, 
entitled Dreams and Their MeamngSy and I pro- 
pose to give a brief r^siune of the book before 
passing on to consider supernormal dreams, as 
the subjects dealt with are highly interesting and 

The first chapter in this book is devoted to 
"What Science Has to Say About Them'* 
(dreams) and considers and summarises the vari- 
ous theories that have been put forward to account 
for normal dreams — conditions of blood supply, 
sensory stimulation, bodily conditions, etc. — as 
well as considering certain psychological ques- 
tions of general interest. Of these, the most im- 
portant are the length or duration of dreams, the 
comparative vividness, the influence of the daily 
life and thoughts upon the content of the dream, 
etc. — all of which has been pretty fully discussed 
ekewhere. One remark, however, calls for special 


mention because of the important conclusion that 
can be drawn from the statement made. It is: 
" We cannot determine what they shall be about, 
by fixing our mind on any particular subject be- 
fore we drop off to sleep, nor can we, after waking 
out of a pleasant dream, prolong it, by thinking 
of its incidents, when we again fall to sleep. I 
am well aware that there are exceptions to this rule 
— people who claim, and no doubt justly, to be 
able to influence in a great measure the course of 
their dreaming thoughts, but they are in a very 
small minority. . • •'* This brings before our 
minds clearly the fact that here is a world of 
which we do not know the laws, and over which we 
have practically no control. We cannot tell what 
may or may not happen in that world, when once 
we enter it, nor can we control our thoughts in it, 
though we may be perfectly rational beings, and 
capable of willing to do so. Just in a similar 
manner it may be that, in the Piper case, e. g.^ the 
" controls '* are alive and active, but when they 
come in contact with the " light," and more or 
less lose control of their faculty of thinking and 
willing voluntarily, many things are apt to occur 
over which they have no control, and for which 
they are not responsible. The point I wish to 
make is that we are not entitled to say what 
^^ spirits " should or should not do in the next life, 


or when, how and what they ought to communi- 
cate, without knowing anything of that other life 
—-its laws and possibilities and the amount of 
control the various spirits (granting that they 
exist) have over their own thoughts and actions. 
.When communicating, they may be just as incap- 
able of controlling their thoughts as we are our 

The question of the remembrance of dreams 
is another question which Mr. Hutchinson has 
touched upon in an interesting manner, though 
all too briefly, considering the importance of the 
problem. Many authors consider it a sign of 
disease if we ever dream; others, on the contrary, 
assert that we constantly dream during sleep, 
and that no sleep is absolutely dreamless! That 
sleep which appears to be so is merely a sleep in 
which the dreams are not remembered. On this 
theory, we dream constantly, but only a few of 
them are remembered, on waking. To dream, 
then, is perfectly normal, and it might even be 
urged that dreamless sleep is abnormal. Is it then 
normal to dream or not? I myself have thought 
about this question much, and it has occurred to 
me that a possible solution of the problem is to be 
found in the combination of both theories; i, e,^ 
both are right and both are wrong, to a certain 
extent. It might be suggested that we do con- 


stantly dream during sleep, and that this is a nor- 
mal process, the abnormal factor being its remem- 
brance. Thus we should dream, but we should 
not (normally) remember these dreams. The ab* 
normal event would be the remembrance — and 
this might be due to some sort of hyper-penetra- 
bility of the ^^ psychical diaphragm," as Mr. 
Myers put it; the screen that usually exists, as a 
wall, between the conscious and subconscious 
lives. The abnormal penetrability of this is the 
diseased state or condition to be rectified. 

I now come to what is the real kernel of the book. 
The author, Mr. Hutchinson, had foimd, some 
years before, that certain dreams had a tendency 
to occur far more frequently than others; and, 
further, that almost every person who dreams at 
all had experienced certain types of dreams at one 
time or another in his life, and he conceived the 
idea of collecting a large number of cases of just 
such dreams, with the object of finding out, if 
possible, their general form, their causes, varia- 
tions, and general effects — in short to make a 
careful study of these particular dreams. 

The dreams that were found to occur most fre- 
quently, and which were most carefully studied, 
were the following : ' 

1. The falling dream. 

2. The flying dream. 


5. The dream of inadequate clothing. 

4. The dream of not being able to get away 
from some beast, or injurious person or thing, 
that is pursuing. 

6. The dream of being drawn irresistibly to 
some dangerous place. 

6. The dream that some darling wish has been 

7* The dream of being about to go on a jour- 
ney, and being unable to get your things into 
your tnuiks, etc. 

As the author argues, since these dreams are so 
frequent, there must be some uniformity of physi- 
cal or mental conditions that would produce these 
dreams in all persons alike; «. e.^ there must be 
some law at work. To find out what that law is, 
was the object of the author, and it must be ac« 
knowledged that if he had solved the problem, he 
would have added much to our knowledge of 
dreams and dream states. 

Let us now consider some few of the cases that 
were sent the author, before attempting to con- 
sider their explanation or psychological signifi- 
cance. Take first the ** falling dreams.*' It is 
commonly supposed, at least it has frequently 
been said, that, though many persons have dreamed 
that they were falling, none have ever dreamed 
that they arrived at the bottom of the fall — for 


** if they did, they would die." This would seem 
to bear out the Irishman's remark that ^^ it was not 
the fall that hurt him, but the sudden stop at the 
bottom.'' However, there appears to be as little 
foundation for this current opinion as there is in 
the majority of such beliefs, for Mr. Hutchinson 
collected accounts of several cases in which the 
dreamer had reached the bottom of the fall, and 
even dreamed that he was smashed into little bits 
as the result, — but yet lived to tell the tale ! This 
is very instructive. The ego^ which in this case 
appears to have a kind of onlooker, ^^ picked up 
the pieces and glued them together again.'' 

Many interesting cases of flying dreams are 
given — these dreams being, for the most part, 
cases^ in which the dreamer thinks he is skimming 
along the ground in a horizontal position, with or 
without a swimming movement of the arms. To 
some, this sensation is like swimming, to some like 
skating, to some like gliding, to others like flying 
(proper), and in other cases it more nearly re- 
sembles the falling dream. In some cases the 
sensation is pleasant, in others distinctly un- 
pleasant. But it would be impossible for me to 
give instances of all the dreams here, since that 
would take a book as big as the original. I can 
only refer my readers to the book itself, assuring 


them that there is sufficient of interest in the book 
to warrant its perusal. 

What are the causes of such dreams, which oc- 
cqx so frequently and to so great a diversity of 
people? It may be stated at once that the author 
did not succeed in tracing the causes of these 
dreams in most instances or in showing clearly the 
psychological laws that govern them. This was 
due partly to lack of the requisite material, and 
partly to the fact that not enough is yet known 
about dreams, their causes and psychological laws, 
to enable any such generalised explanation being 
made. What the author has done, therefore, is 
to collect the dreams, classify them, and then to 
offer a number of possible explanations, — some 
original, some gathered from other sources, — and 
leave the reader to form his own conclusions in the 
matter. After all, perhaps this is the wisest 
course. Thus the book is disappointing in one 
sense, as showing us how little is really known 
about dreams and dream states, but very useful in 
another, for the reason that it clears away many 
of the prevailing erroneous beliefs connected with 
the subject, and anything that does this is to be 

Having said so much it but remains for me to 
summarise the theories that have been advanced 


by way of explanation of the Tarious dreams^ 
though it cannot be hoped that this portion of the 
subject will contain anything new or of great in- 
terest to the psychologist. To the average reader^ 
however, some of the theories may be of interest, 
since theories of dreams are not so well known as 
they should be — I mean even normal dreams. 

Take, then, the ^^ falling dreams." These may 
be due to a number of causes. The common ex* 
planation is ^^ indigestion " — this producing a 
pressure on the heart and consequent sending of 
blood to the brain in a jerk. But is this really 
any explanation at all? Why should this give ua 
the sensation of falling from a great height, 
since we none of us know what that sensation is? 
It can readily be imagined that this would have 
the effect of waking the dreamer with a start, but 
why should it arouse the idea of falling? The 
explanation evidently does not explain. Can it be 
that we merely imagine ourselves falling (or fly- 
ing as the case may be)? If it be contended that 
this is the explanation, how can we imagine a 
thing or a sensation we have never experienced, 
since we cannot possibly tell what it would be like? 
It may be pointed out, parenthetically, that these 
dreams completely disprove the assertion so fre- 
quently made that we cannot possibly dream about 
any thing or sensation which we have not expe- 


Tienced in our waking lives. As we have not 
fallen from great heights or flown, while awake, 
how are the drecuns to be accounted for? One 
ingenious correspondent suggests that this sensa* 
tion is a relic of our prehistoric days, and repre- 
sents experiences and memories carried over from 
our ^^ monkeyhood *' state ! I shall not do more 
than refer to the suggestion. The author rather 
inclines to the belief that the eyes or optic nerves 
play a great part in the explanation of such 
dreams. They are supposed to give us the sensa- 
tion of things moving upward past us, and this 
would indirectly suggest the fact that we were 
falling. The author contends that these sensa- 
tions are frequently experienced in waking life, 
and might be the basis of our dreams of falling, 
when asleep. For reasons it would take too long 
to specify here I can only say that this explana- 
tion does not appear to me to cover all the facts, 
or to explain many of the dreams in any complete 

The most rational explanation of such dreams 
is probably the following: By lying too long in 
one position, the blood supply on the lower sur- 
face of the body is cut off, producing a certain 
peripheral anaemia, with loss of sensation in these 
parts. This loss of sensation would be coupled 
with the feeling that there was no support be- 


neath the body, and hence the idea that the body 
was falling through space* The imagination of 
the dreamer would supply the rest of the dream 
data, so long as the primary sensation was aroused. 
There are, in addition to all the above dreams, 
many on record much more remarkable —« dreams 
which convey to the dreamer information un- 
known to him until that moment — dreams ap- 
parently telepathic, clairvoyant, prophetic A 
son appears to his mother, and announces to her 
that he has just been killed in a railroad accident; 
a dreamer sees with horror an accident befalling 
a near and dear friend of his; or sees an incident 
happening in the future — all of which turn out 
to be absolutely accurate. How are we to account 
for such dreams on the accepted laws of psychol- 
ogy and physiology? Do not such dreams rather 
suggest that we are, in sleep, in a world distinctly 
different from this one, where it is possible for us, 
occasionally at least, to see and hear that which it 
is impossible for us to see or hear in our normal, 
waking state? And how absurd the claim that 
all dreams are but the results of past states of 
consciousness, or past experience, in the face of 
such experiences and such dreams! There are 
many of them on record; so many that it would 
be unnecessary to argue the point here. The only 
remaining question that lies before us is. How 


Are such dreams to be explained? Why do they 
occur, and how? 

The hint I have let fall in the preceding para- 
graph wiU answer these questions in a large part - 
at least so far as they can be answered in the pres- 
ent state of our knowledge. Telepathy and clair- 
voyance and premonition operate in sleep and 
dreams as well or better than they do in the waking 
state; and, if spirits exist, there is great reason to 
Suppose that their mental influences cause or in- 
itiate a large number of dreams that appear to us 
to be evidence of the faculties mentioned above, or 
even of ordinary dreams. These faculties exist, 
and they operate in sleep as they do in the waking 
state — in fact, we seem to have proof that they 
operate more perfectly and freely in the sleep- 
state than in the waking state. This is also a 
very suggestive point; for, if the materialistic 
theory of consciousness and its relation to brain 
activity be true, it should be that, the less the brain 
activity the less the consciousness, whereas we find 
that precisely the reverse of this is true; and that 
the nearer the brain is to a state of complete in- 
activity, the more intense and alive is that portion 
of consciousness which is active during the sleep- 
ing hours. Which, of course, suggests to us that 
if, or rather when, the brain ceases to function — 
'9S it does at death — the same consciousness (the 


soul?) is most free and most active — at least as 
soon as it recovers from the shock and wrench of 

Much has been written of the similarity of sleep 
and death, on the one hand, and the phenomena of 
trance and hibernation, on the other. That there 
are certain resemblances (notably the absence of 
consciousness) cannot be doubted, but I am con- 
vinced that the two states of sleep and trance 
differ radically; and that both of these diffec 
from hibernation also. This is not the place to 
discuss these theories^ which are of more inter* 
est to physiology than to psychology and psy- 
chic research. I shall, on the other hand, conclude 
this speculative chapter with some remarks upon 
a question that is of intense interest, but which 
has never been discussed in any detail, so far as I 
am aware, except by Dr. Hyslop, years ago, in 
the Journal of the English S. P. R. I refer to 
the subject of the consciousness of dying. The 
problem may be stated somewhat as follows: 

From the materialistic point of view, it would 
appear to be practically impossible for anyone 
to have any distinct consciousness of dying. For, 
if materialism were true, death must be the ex- 
tinction of consciousness. It would seem to be 
impossible, therefore, ever to be conscious of dy- 
ing; that is, conscious that consciousness is being 


extinguished. Therefore, if it be true that per- 
sons are conscious that they are dying, it would 
apparently contradict materialism. 

Of course the difficulty is to prove the fact that 
the dying person is really conscious of the fact 
he is dying. We cannot ever prove this by any in- 
trospective process unless we die ourselves — and 
that would shut off all direct means of imparting 
the information to others in the future. We, 
therefore, have to depend upon inferences from 
observing dying persons. Dr. Hyslop founded 
his observations and opinions upon his father's 
case — who afterwards communicated through 
Mrs. Piper, and confirmed many of these infers 
ences. It might be urged also, that we are fre^ 
quently conscious of going to sleep, and again, 
that the dying person might simply infer that he 
is dying, and not be really conscious of it. All 
of which facts would make it hard to prove the 
fact under discussion. 

If consciousness were suspended entirely in sleep 
(annihilated pro tem)^ it should be as impossible 
for anyone to be aware of the fact that he is going 
to sleep as of the fact that he is dying. But we 
know that this is frequently the case. It is not 
always the case, of course. Personally, I am 
rarely or never conscious of going to sleep, aqd Dr. 
Hyslop stated that he was never aware of it 


either. But it will readily be seen that, even wett 
this the case, it would tend to prove only the fact 
that sleep is a suspension of consciousness, and not 
an annihilation of it ; and if persons are conscious 
of dying, it would tend to prove the same thing. 
Therefore, this fact also would tend to show that 
sleep is a time of the withdrawal of consciousness 
from the organism, and not of its extinction. And 
the argument that the dying person knows by in- 
ference, merely, that he is dying may be met in 
two ways, at least. In the first place, he cannot 
infer anything without self -consciousness ; and the 
presence of self -consciousness would prove its ex- 
istence and active operation. It could not, there- 
fore, be extinct. The second reason is this. ** In- 
ference is usually, if not always, in normal life, 
connected with some previous experience which has 
had the meaning inferred in the new case. But as 
the subject has had no experience involving the con- 
nection of a sensation with death, it would appear 
remarkable that it should infer a fact which is in- 
terpreted as extinction which it has not had. A 
new experience of an extraordinary kind might, of 
course, suggest death as its explanation, though 
it might equally suggest mere wonder at its new- 
ness, as strange sensations often do. . . . 
" That the explanation, in the consciousness of 


the subject having the experience, takes the form 
of supposing the approach of death, might be sug- 
gested by the d priori conception of death as the 
departure of the soul from the body. ... If 
we interpret sleep as the suspension of conscious- 
ness, as I think we must do, under any theory what- 
ever, then it would be quite probable, even sup- 
posing the persistence of the subject after death, 
that this suspension would generally, if not always, 
take place at death, permanently of course, on the 
theory of materiaUsm, but temporarily, at least, on 
the opposing theory. But there might be excep- 
tions to this suspension at the moment of decease, 
if death is not extinction. There might be cases 
where the subject retains consciousness of the sev- 
erance, sinnla^ to those experiences on record in 
which the person says that he has seemed to leave 
the body. It is simply a question of evidence, 
whether we can determine the possibilities of such a 
consciousness, or whether we find the facts either 
without significance or disproving the hypothesis. 
If we find phenomena, normal or abnormal, in the 
existence of the living and resembling what we 
might imagine to be at least an occasional phenom- 
enon of the dying, we should give the problem the 
attention it deserves, and endeavour to ascertain 
whether the so-called consciousness of dying is 


anything more than an inference, or like those ap« 
prehensions about death that are so often illu- 
sions." ^ 

Is death an ^ everlasting sleep,** or is it a state 
of the most intense active self -consciousness ? Time 
will show. 

tJ9unua of the a P< R^ Vol VIII, pp. f6<V^, 





NO attempt can here be made to trace in any 
detafl the history of spiritualism through the 
various literatures of the nations, nor even to follow 
the modem history of the subject. Any attempt 
to do so would, of course, involve a treatise of sev-* 
eral volumes, and to even touch upon it lightly 
would necessitate a ponderous essay. I shall 
therefore, in this chapter, confine myself to a brief 
outline of only the most important and significant 
features of the subject that have been recorded, 
and to touch upon those phenomena which have 
received international reputation and significance. 
Spiritualistic phenomena have, of course, been 
recorded throughout all ages of the world's history. 
In the very earliest times we find traces and records 
of such occurrences, both biblical and in the tradi- 
tions, mythology and religious beliefs of all coun- 
tries, and there is no more interesting study than 
the colliection and comparison of such records. 
The phenomena of witchcraft recorded through- 
out the middle ages, both in Europe and in Ameri- 
ca, and later the semi-mystical beliefs in ^ magne- 



tism/ revived by Mesmer and his disciples, were, as 
Mr. Podmore clearly shows in his Modem Spirit 
uaUam^ the two chief, connecting links between 
the mysticism of the middle ages and the modern 
psychic phenomena observed in the middle of the 
nineteenth century when modem spiritualism re- 
ceived a sudden and tremendous revivaL 

This ^^ cult " originated, strictly speaking, ii 
Hydesville, N. Y., when the Fox sisters suddenlj 
developed the surprising faculty of producing and 
intelligently controlling knocks or rappings, and 
inducing such rappings to answer questions put to 
them. This certainly seemed to signify that some 
intelligence was behind these manifestations, and 
when questions were put, it was stated that an 
Italian peddler who bad died and been buried be- 
low the basanent of the house was the cause of 
such rappings, — his spirit being restless, and be 
returning to render his personality manifest in this 
inanner. Active measures were at once taken. 
The floor of the basement was dug up, but no 
body was discovered, nor has any body been un*- 
earthed answering to the description until within 
the last year or two, when, it is stated, a body oo^ 
responding to the description given was discov- 
ered, which seems a most interesting confirmation 
of the original statement. 
V In these rappings originated modem spiritism* 


Tbej were of course received yarioiwly by the com- 
munity at the time — some accepting them as gen-* 
uine evidences of the spirit world, others asserting 
that they were due to fraud and trickery, and de- 
manding an instant investigation by scientific men. 
Such investigation was, unfortunately, never forth- 
coming, and to this day the Fox sisters remain an 
•* unknown quantity " in the history of Spiritual- 

It is true that a partial investigation was con- 
ducted by three doctors from Buffalo, N. Y., who 
examined the sisters and returned a rather unfav- 
ourable report, asserting that raps did not occur 
when strict conditions were observed, and that only 
when these were rdaxed were the phenomena possi- 
ble; but nothing was definitely proved, and these 
rappings have always remained open to question. 
As may be supposed, other medixmis rapidly devel- 
oped, raps occurring in the presence of male and fe- 
male mediums throughout the country, and other 
phenomena appeared in rapid succession. Slate 
writing, materialisation, playing of musical instru- 
ments, the appearance of spirit hands and feet, 
^test^ messages given, and various other phe- 
nomena observed, with the consequence that spirit- 
ism soon claimed its adherents by the thousand, 
and within a few years various books and pam- 
phlets appeared, and several journals were founded 


devoted entirely to these subjects, while mediums 
continued to multiply to a bewildering degree. 
AUnost all of the newly, developed mediums were 
those in whose presence phyricd phenomaia were 
observed (as distinct from mental) ; and indeed, in 
the early stages of spiritism, we find few mediums 
who devoted their time solely to the mental side of 
the question. There were, however, a few notable 
exceptions ; among these the famous Andrew Jack* 
son Davis, Emma Harding Brittain, and a few 
other trance speakers in whose presence, if we re- 
member rightly, no physical phenomena ever oc- 
curred: but with them died almost completely the 
exclusively mental phenomena so far as the more 
reputable mediimis were concerned ; and this state of 
affairs continued luitil the case of Mrs. Piper was 
brought to light, of which I shall speak presently. 
Meanwhile, physical mediums had been multiply- 
ing ad nauseam. The most famous of these was 
doubtless Daniel Dunglas Home, whose reputa- 
tion has remained undimmed for forty years, and 
which will now doubtless continue so throughout all 
time. This medium was one of the very few pro- 
ducing physical phenomena against whom no def- 
inite charge of fraud was ever brought — or, at 
least, sustained. Home's fame in America was, of 
course, great; but it was not until he made his 
trip to England and Germany, following in the 


wake of Mrs. Hajden in the former country, and 
became a subject of investigation by Sir William 
Crookes, that his fame became really great. 
About the years 1866 to 1870 there was a great 
impetus in English thought towards spiritism, and 
at about that time I{ome visited England, giving 
stances in various parts of the country, and arous- 
ing tremendous excitement wherever he appeared, 
because of the extraordinary phenomena witnessed 
in his presence. So great was the excitement that 
there arose a clamour on the part of the more en- 
lightened of the scientific world that the phenomena 
observed in this medixmi's presence should receive 
due consideration and investigation at the hands 
of competent observers; and when Sir William 
Crookes undertook to investigate this medium, 
solely in the interests of science, from a scientific 
standpoint, and by scientific means, the journals 
were unanimous in asserting that no better inves- 
tigator could be found than the clear-headed, logi- 
cal and sceptical Sir William Crookes. It was, in 
fact, a test case — the first medium of his time to 
be investigated by the most eminent scientist then 
living in England! What wonder that the scien- 
tific joumfiJs should rejoice because they consid- 
ered that Turio the impostures of the infamous Home 
would be brought to life and exploded; and what 
wander that the spiritists should rejoice since 


they conceived that the phenomena observecl 
through Home's roediumship would finally reeeive 
their just appreciation and be recorded as actual 
scientific facts, instead of the mere assertions of 
gullible laymen 1 And while these opinions were 
clashing, the moderate and even-minded world wal 
awaiting the final verdict with interest. 

For several years Sir William Crookes had the 
opportunity of studying Home more or less di^ 
rectly, and in 1872 he published in his Quarterly 
Journal of Science^ of which he was then the editor, 
his first lengthy report, entitled ^* An Experimental 
Investigation of a New Force.'* In this artide^' 
which is one of the most intmsely interesting that 
can be imagined, Sir William Crookes goes intc^ 
great detail in explaining the precautions he toek 
to guard against fraud, the apparatus used, th^ 
methods employed, and the results attained. These 
were entirely favourable to Home, and convinced 
Sir William Crookes that there was, operative 
through him, a force of some kind, which he provi-' 
sionally termed " psychic," capable of moving ma- 
terial bodies without the direct contact of the me- 
dium's body, and achieving other results in the 
physical world. This famous essay was supple- 
mented two years later by one that still more radi- 
cally upset the scientific traditions of the age by 
recording, as facts, such phenomena as direct writ- 


ingj mateiiiJisatioii, and other astonishing phe-> 
iMHiiena, which were published in an article enti* 
tied ^ Notes on an Inquiry into the Phenomena 
Calkd Spiritual.'' These articles brought upon 
Sir William Crookes' head» as might be im« 
Agined, the bitter criticism and hostility of the 
scientific world, who now realised that the yery 
champion who, they had confidently hoped, would 
smash and expose the 'fraud of spiritualism,' 
had, as the result of his years of investigation, be« 
come a firm believer in practically all the phenome- 
na recorded ; and indeed it may be said, parenthet-^ 
icaUy that this is true of a very large number of 
investigators who have taken the pains to study the 
sid>ject at first hand. Some of the phenomena re- 
corded by Sir William Crookes and by others at 
the time were, indeed, almost incredible, and we 
can quite readily appreciate the hostility which 
tiie publication of such records entailed. The 
elongation of the medium's body, the possibility 
of Home handling red hot coals, etc., without in- 
jury to himself, and above all, the instances of lev- 
itation — in which the medium's body was, as it 
was asserted, lifted by some force (apparently 
counteracting that of gravity) and carried about 
the room^ and even out of the window, at a distance 
of some 70 feet from the ground — such phenom- 
ena certainly seemed incredible; and as yet their 


acceptance remains purely n personal mattery 
each indiTidual having to balance in his own mind 
the alternatives of rejecting the statements of 
trained scientific men, such as those whose names 
are given, or of accepting the phenomena as genu- 
ine. The acceptance of either alternative seems 
impossible. It has been suggested that there is, 
of course, another possible explanation which 
would not necessitate either of the alternatives 
named. This is, that the investigators were in 
some way hallucinated, and that their senses de- 
ceived them into thinking that events occurred 
which did not actually take place. But in many, 
cases, this explanation would not hold good^ as 
there was the material record left in the physical 
world of actual events that had transpired, and Sir 
William Crookes had, in many cases, invented appa- 
ratus for mechanically marking such movements as 
took place, having in mind this very objection, 
and wishing to forestall it by producing the mate- 
rial proofs given him by a mechanical instrument 
which could not, we must suppose, have been de 

I have dwelt thus at length upon the phenomena 
obtained through Home's medimnship and the ex- 
periments of Sir William Crookes for the reason 
that they are the most important experiments 
in the history of spiritism that have ever been 


conducted, and almost the only ones that have 
never been discredited by further investiga- 
tions. In ahnost every other instance the physical 
phenomena have been ultimately shown to be 
frauds; but with the exception of Home and one 
or two other, later, cases, it may be said that the 
evidence for the physical phenomena of spiritism is 
practically niL We accordingly leave the physical 
phenomena of spiritism and turn our attention to 
the more interesting and positive proofs of the 
doctrine afforded by mental manifestations. 

As stated, the early history of spiritism affords 
us few instances of the kind, and it was not until 
Mrs. Piper began to receive the attention of the 
scientific world that such phenomena began to 
receive from scientists the attention they had al- 
ways deserved. The first report on this case, 
which has now a world-wide reputation, appeared 
over the signature of Prof. William James of Har- 
vard in 1886, being published in the Proceedings 
of the American Society for Psychical Research. 
For several years past Professor James had been 
investigating this medium, and when Dr. Hodgson 
arrived in this country some two years later, his 
attention was at once drawn to the importance of 
the investigation of this medium by Professor 
'James, and he at once began an investigation of 
her powers. 



It is not too much to say that the ^ase of Mrs. 
Piper is the most important that the history of 
spiritism has as yet presented, and possibly ever will 
present, as affording evidence of life after death, 
and it is worth the centered and almost exdusive 
attention that has been given it for the jpast twenty 
years. Putting aside all the other phenondena of 
psychical research, the evidence for a ftiture life 
may be fairly said to rest on this case of Mrs, 
Piper,-— partly for the reason that it affords fai^ 
better evidence than does any other case so far 
published, and partly because it has received the 
careful attention of a number of eminent scientists 
and other qualified investigators for a number of 
years past. A brief r^sumt of the case may, par* 
haps, be given as follows: 

When Dr. Hodgson became convinced of the gen- 
uineness of Mrs. Piper's power (which, I may add, 
was only established after several years of detec 
tive work and the closest possible scrutiny and 
observation of the medium), she was taken to 
England by the English society and investigated 
there by Sir Oliver Lodge, Mr. F. W. H. Myers, 
Dr. Walter Leaf and others, — their reports be- 
ing published in Vol. VI. Proceedings S. P. R 
Some of these reports were favourable, others unfa- 
vourable, though almost unanimous in asserting 
that Mrs. Piper was genuine, so far as the trance 


went — opinions differing as to the value of the 
communications received through her ; and, indeed, 
the sittings themselves varied most remarkably. 
Dr. Hodgson's first report ^ left the matter still un- 
determined, he stating that, while there were 
many evidences of discamate intelligence, still there 
were many objections to it also, and he held his 
judgment in suspense pending further investiga- 
tion. His second report was published six years 
later in 1898,' and in this report Dr. Hodgson 
cune out, for the first time, as an advocate of the 
spiritistic theory, he asserting that it was the 
most rational explanation of the facts so far ob- 
served, and publishing, for the first time^ a sten- 
4dgraphic record of stances that certainly seemed to 
justify, if not to prove, his contention. Shortly 
afterward a brief Report was published * by Pro^ 
f essor Newboldy— this author also holding his 
judgment in suspense and offering no definite the- 
ory by way of explanation. Soon after this Pro- 
fessor Hyslop obtained his series of seventeen sit- 
tings, and published his Report, with great detail.^ 
Professor Hyslop considered, in the first part of 
his Report, the various theories that have been 
put forward, by way of explanation of this case, 

1 Proceedingi S. P. R^ Vol. VIII. 
» Proceedingi S. P. R., Vol. XIII. 
« Proceedingi S. P. R., Vol. XIV. 
< Proceedingi S. P. R., VoL XVI. 


and the difficulties and objections of each theory. 
He was himself, however, entirely in favour of 
the spiritistic explanation, having been converted 
to that belief, from materialism, through Mrs. 
Piper's trance-mediumship. Since that time no 
elaborate reports have appeared, though several 
criticisms and minor essays have been published, 
and the world at present awaits further evidence 
with intense interest. 

I shall, in the next chapter, discuss the various 
theories that have been brought forward to explain 
the phenomena obtained through this remarkable 
medixmi. Here it is only necessary to state that in 
this case of Mrs. Piper is focussed and concen- 
trated, one might say, the whole issue of spiritism 
so far as personal identity and proof of life after 
death is concerned ; and the importance of the case 
cannot, consequently, be too strongly insisted 



MRS. PIPER first gained the attention of the 
public- in 1886, when Prof. William James 
published a Report in the American Proceedings 
S. P. R.9 stating that, owing to his personal inves- 
tigation, he was convinced that there was, in this 
case, prima facie evidence of supernormal faculty, 
and that fraud was apparently out of the question, 
owing to the precautions he had taken to exclude 
it* Various individuals were sent by Professor 
James to Mrs. Piper, who had sittings during three 
or four ensuing years, but no serious and syste- 
matic attempt at investigation was made imtil Dr. 
Hodgson arrived in this country in 1887, making 
Mrs. Piper's acquaintance about two weeks after 
his arrival in Boston. 

** I had several sittings myself with Mrs. Piper,'* 
writes Dr. Hodgson, at this period, *^ at which much 
intimate knowledge, some of it personal, was shown, 
of deceased friends or relatives of mine; and I 
made appointments for sittings for at least fifty 
persons whom I believed to be strangers to Mrs. 
Piper, taking the utmost precautions to prevent 
her obtaining any information beforehand as to 



who the sitters were to be. The general result was 
the same as in my own case. Most of these persons 
were told facts through the trance-utterance which 
they felt sure could not have become known to Mrs. 
Piper by ordinary means. For several weeks, 
moreover, at the suggestion of one of the mnnbers, 
detectives were employed for the purpose of ascei^ 
taining whether there were any indications that 
Mrs. Piper or her husband, or other persons con- 
nected with her, tried to ascertain facts about possi- 
ble sitters by the help of confederates, or other oi^ 
dinary methods of inquiry, but not the smallest in- 
dication whatever of any such procedure was dis- 
covered. My own conclusion was that — after al*^ 
lowing the widest possible margin for information 
obtainable under the circumstances by ordinary 
means, for chance coincidence and remarkable 
guessing, aided by clues given consciously or un- 
consciously by the sitters, and helped out by sup- 
posed hyperaesthesia on the part of Mrs. Piper — 
there remained a large residuum of knowledge 
displayed in her trance state which could not be 
accounted for except on the hypothesis that she 
had some supernormal power; and this conviction 
has been strengthened by later investigations." 

As a further precaution against fraud, however, 
and in order to study the case more satisfactorily^ 
Mrs. Piper was taken to England for experimeot 


by a group of investigators, which comprised such 
men as Prof. Henry Sidgwick, of Cambridge 
University ; Sir Oliver Lodge, F. W, H. Myers, Dr. 
Walter Leaf and others. Mrs. Piper arrived in 
England, November 1889, and was met at Liver- 
pool by Sir Oliver Lodge. Throughout her stay 
in England she was under close observation during 
the entire time, being the guest of one or more of 
the above-mentioned men throughout this period 
and until her departure for America some three 
months later. At this period Dr. Hodgson again 
resumed his investigation, and the case remained 
under his personal observation from that date until 
his lamentable death in December, 1906. 

Before I proceed further, let me make plain the 
class of phenomena that appear through Mrs. 
Piper's mediimiship, as this is a point which is ap- 
parently much misunderstood. In the Piper case 
there are no materialisations, no slate writing, no 
rope tying, no dark seances, nothing of the kind 
that could in any way suggest conscious physical 
trickerj^ Mrs. Piper merely sits at a table and, 
while conversing, falls into a trance condition, in 
which the body, to all intents and purposes, dies 
for some few seconds, — consciousness being en- 
tirely obliterated,—^ and, indeed, her owii conscious- 
ness does not return so long as the trance lasts. 
The head falls forward and is supported by cush- 


ions on tEe table; her whole body becomes inaoi- 
mate. Shortly after this, the right hand and arm 
seem to gain a consciousness of their own.^ 
The fingers seize a pencil (presented by the sit- 
ter) and begin to write on a pad placed on the 
table in readiness — just as would be the case were 
the medium in her ordinary conscious state — the 
whole s^nce, occurring, of course, in full daylight, 
and, so far as the writing is concerned, there is 
nothing unusual about it, to all appearances, and 
no proof whatever that it is not directed by Mrs. 
Piper's own consciousness ; and whether or not there 
is any evidence for the supernormal would depend, 
therefore, not on the physical characteristics of 
the case, but on the actual content of the written 
message; that is, whether such a message contains 
any fact or piece of information, or knowledge, 
that is unknown to the sitter, or known only to the 
intelligence communicating that fact. 

This is the kind of evidence that the Society has 
been for many years endeavouring to procure, and 
I wish just here to make clear what the problem is 
that confronts us in the Piper case. Mrs. Piper's 

1 A most interesting fact, in this connection, is the fol- 
lowing: Mr. Lowell found, in his study of tiie Japanese 
trance possession cases, that the hands and arms are tbe 
fint and last parts to become * possessed.' All students of 
psychic phenomena should read this book, as the similarities 
of the Japanese possession cases to the Piper case are frt- 
quently rtry striking. (Oeeult Japan, pp. 179, 180^ 351^79*) 


hand is controlled by some intelligence, that in- 
telligence claiming to be sometimes a deceased per- 
son (possibly the friend or relative of the sitter) 
and at other times an intermediary, who undertakes 
apparently to speak for such friend or relative. 
Whether or not the intelligence is what it claims to 
be is, of course, the problem to be solved, and of this 
we shall speak later. There is doubtless an intelli- 
gence or agent of some sort at work, and the ques- 
tion is: Is this intelligence what it claims to be, — 
that is, a discamate spirit, — or is it merely the re- 
sult of the activity of Mrs. Piper's subconscious- 
Viess dramatically acting out the part and falsely 
passing itself off as the spirit it claims to be? 
That is the difficulty that is to be solved in this 
base. The trouble is that we can never get into 
closer contact with the intelligence communicating 

than is afforded by the automatic writing. Sup- 


pose for a moment that a relative had started, 
twelve or fifteen years ago, on an expedition to 
Alaska; and suppose that we one day received a 
telephone message, stating that the speaker was the 
relative in question, returned from his trip. Verifi- 
cation, in this case, could be readily obtained by 
meeting and recognising such a person. But sup- 
pose that such meeting and recognition were never 
pontbk, the only method of communication thence- 
forwird being confined to telephone messages? 


Now the problem would be: How can the intdE- 
gence at the other end of the wire prove that he is 
what he claims to be, — ^namely, your own relative, 
— and that he is not an impostor passing himself 
off as such for financial or other gain? What 
would be the method we should pursue in such a 
case? We should probably say to him: ^Well, 
how do I know that you are so-and-so? CaB 
you produce any evidence to show that you aie 
the person you claim to be? " And in order to 
prove his identity, such person would have to 
bring forward certain facts which were known 
only to himself and to the person receiving the 
message, as, if facts were given which a immb- 
ber of persons knew, it would be no test-evidmce, 
as any one of those parsons might have been 
communicating. Still better evidence would be af- 
forded were the communicator to furnish some in- 
formation that was unknown^ even to the receiver 
of that message or to anyone other than the person 
communicating, such information afterwards be- 
ing verified by letter or reference to written docu- 
ments, etc. If the evidence in such cases was con- 
clusive, there would be a very clear presumption 
that the intelligence giving the message was ac- 
tually what it claimed to be, — namely, the relative 
in question, — and that his own intelligence and 
none other was active at the other end of the line. 


Now this is precisely the problem before us in the 
Piper case« The communications are, as stated, 
limited to the automatic writing, and in this man- 
ner only can we get in touch with the communicat- 
ing intelligence, whatever it may be. Whether 
such intelligence is what it claims to be, therefore, 
must depend on evidence of this kind; and this is 
precisely the sort of evidence which the S. P. R. 
has been endeavouring to procure for a number of 
years past. Test cases of the kind have been made 
as follows: A person has written a letter which 
was sealed and sent to Dr. Hodgson for safe-keep- 
ing, the letter not to be opened until after the 
deHth of the person writing it, who was, conse- 
quently, the only person in the world who was 
in possession of the knowledge of the contents of 
that letter. Now when this person died and his 
sat'duant spirit claimed to communicate, if he 
was enabled to tell accurately the contents of this 
letter, there would be very good evidence that his 
intelligence was still alive and active. Such ex- 
periments have, however, as yet been limited in 
number and inconclusive in result, though there 
should be doubtless many interesting developments 
within the next few years, as the result of experi- 
ments of this kind, as the writers of the letters (of 
which Dr. Hodgson had a great number on hand) 
die off. For the present, evidence has been con- 


fined to somewhat less strictly experimental meth-' 
ods, in which information has been given of a pri- 
vate character, and indeed a great part of the 
records in the Piper case could never be published 
owing to the fact that they are of such a private 
nature that the persons who receive the messages 
have refused to allow their publication. From a 
scientific standpoint this is most unfortunate, but 
quite understandable, and perhaps only natural. 
One very interesting point was that one spirit, call- 
ing himself Greorge Pelham, recognised, out of hun- 
dreds of sitters, Ofdy those who were known to him 
in life and greeted each of these with the proper 
degree of famUiaritff; that is, he continued his rela- 
tions with them on precisely the same footing as be 
would were he still alive ; and this is a most interest- 
ing fact when we consider that, in all other cases, 
he did not claim any knowledge of the sitters, and 
had to be introduced to them, frequently, before the 
communications could begin. These shades of rec- 
ognition are most interesting and form a very 
strong presumption in favour of the spiritistic hy- 
pothesis. One other strong reason for believing 
this theory to be correct is found in the fact that in 
many cases messages have been given through one 
medium and broken off while incomplete, and after-- 
wards furnished through another medium, in a dif- 
ferent part of the country, or even in a different 


country. For example, in the case of the late F. 
W. H. Myers, a message was giyen through a 
private medium in England — a lady and a teacher 
in Cambridge University — and finished three 
days later through Mrs. Piper in Boston, the 
spirit coming back with the remark : ^^ I am afraid 
I did not make myself clear three days ago with ref- 
erence to so-andH90 ; what I meant was this . • •'' 
and the message was completed in more intelligible 

Now that the reader has a general idea of 
the character of the phenomena, and the problems 
that are to be solved, the question of explanatory 
theories must be discussed, without going into great 
detail. It may be stated that such explanatory 
theories are three: (1) Fraud; (2) Telepathy; 
and (S) Spirits. Of course fraud must first be 
eliminated before any other considerations are al- 
lowable. But I cannot go into the question at 
great length here because the theory has been 
practically disposed of for many years, in the 
minds of practically all men who have had any per- 
sonal contact with Mrs. Piper, or who have even 
carefully studied the reports of the Society. That 
information is frequently obtained by personal 
inquiries and by the employment of paid detectives 
is well known ; also that there is a system, or kind 
of ^^ bureau of information," among paid mediums 


which allows them to exchange information ob- 
tained about sitters ^ — all this was well known and 
recognised by the Society, and allowances were 
made for all such possibilities. Detectiyes were 
employed at one time to watch Mrs. Piper, her cor- 
respondence was frequently intercepted, and sitters 
were introduced at the last moment, just before 
Mrs. Piper went into the trance, or, in some cases, 
even after she had gone into trance, — • Mrs. Piper 
herself never having seen the sitter before, and the 
whole arrangement being made through Dr. Hodg- 
son, without any knowledge on Mrs. Piper's part 
as to who the sitter was to be. Further, Mrs. 
Piper was, as stated, taken to England in 1889 and 
studied there for some months, largely to exclude 
the possibilities of fraud. For all of which rea- 
sons I must ask my reader to assume that fraud 
has been excluded in the case, and shall proceed to 
discuss the other two theories above mentioned. 

The telepathic hypothesis assumes that the dra- 
matic play of personality is explainable on the as- 
sumption that some subconscious part of Mrs. 
Piper's mind is acting out, as it were, the personal- 
ity it claims to be, — being a case of secondary per- 
sonality, which has received many confirmatory 

1 The Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism, by the present 
writer, pp. 313-18; also my Report on Lily Dale, Proeesir 
ings Amer. S. P. R^ Vol. II, Part I, pp. 106-16. 


proofs in the recent cases of split personality, sec- 
ondary consciousness, etc., studied by medical and 
other scientific men. This would be the ready ex- 
planation and account for all the facts in the case, 
were it not that evidence is continually given which 
such personality could not be supposed to possess. 
Just here it is assumed that telepathy is operative, 
keeping such personality supplied with facts that 
have been obtained from the mind of the sitter, or 
from other minds in the world elsewhere, and oiFer- 
ing these facts as though they were obtained from 
the intelligence in question, when they are, as a 
matter of fact, only such facts as are obtained 
telepathically from living minds. Such a theory 
would be hard to disprove, and, in fact, there are 
many indications that it is possible, some of which 
I myself pointed out in a criticism of Professor 
Hyslop's report.^ Since this was published, I have 
totally changed my views on the Piper case, how- 
ever, and would now no longer defend the view I 
tiiere advanced. 

The objections to the telepathic hypothesis have 
been summarised with great force by Professor 
Hyslop in his recent book, Science and a Future 
Life^ and I might perhaps take the argument very 
^BTgelj from his book. I would but point out first 
that telepathy, of the kind necessary to explain 

1 Proceedings S. P. R., VoL XVII, pp. S37-59. 


this case, has never received acceptance by thi. 
scientific world — that is, we are using telqpathy , as 
against spiritism, while telepathy in itself is no e^r- 
planatian at all, merely the name of a connection 
of some sort between two minds, which connection 
itself requires explanation (p. 198) ; and further 
that the scientific world has not accepted telepathy 
at all, so that we are using an unaccepted theory to 
explain certain facts. But Professor Hyslop goes 
on to argue that, even supposing that telepathy 
has been proved to be a fact, the only experimental 
evidence we have is limited strictly to conscious 
mental states, and in order to apply it to the Piper 
case, we should have to stretch this to cover tmcoii-- 
scious mental states ; and this, not only in the sitter, 
but in other minds, active elsewhere in the worlds — 
and for this kind of telepathy we have no evidence 
whatever. Even granting the possibility of such 
telepathy, however, and that it is powerful enough, 
to abstract from any consciousness anywhere in the 
world a certain fact and convey it, as it were, to 
Mrs. Piper's subconscious self, then. Professor Hys- 
lop urges, such a power would be practically om- 
nipotent, and telepathy should be enabled to obtain 
facts from the minds of practically any person in 
the world, — and not only trivial facts, but impo^ 
tant and personal and detailed evidence, — and this 
is precisely what has not been obtained. On the 


coiitrajry, only personal, and, to the world at large, 
trividl incidents hare been given, which is precisely 
what we should expect if spiritisin were true, but 
precisely what we should not expect if this kind of 
telepathy were operative, which, we might sup- 
pose, would be enabled to obtain facts of any de- 
scription, at any time. Thus the triviality of the 
messages, in the Piper case, argues, not against 
spiritism, but in favour of it, since we know that 
living consciousnesses do deal in trivialities almost 
entirely; and as Professor Hyslop experimentally 
proved previously, trivial messages are voluntarily 
chosen by individuals who attempt to prove their 
identity by means of telegraphic or other com- 
munications where personal contact and speech is 
impossible. Many other objections to the tele- 
pathic hypothesis might be advanced, but I cannot 
at this time attempt to mention them, merely re- 
ferring the reader to Professor Hyslop's book be- 
fore quoted, and to M. Sage's most readable book, 
Mrs. Piper and the Society for Psychical Research. 
I shall, in conclusion, consider two other points 
of interest in connection with the Piper case; one 
deals with the character of the mistakes and confu- 
sions, the other with the triviality of the messages. 
This question of the mistakes and confusions is a 
large one, and I cannot do more than briefly refer 
to it. I might state, however, in this connection. 



that although it is, in one sense, a great objection' 
to the spiritistic hypothesis that such mistakes 
should occur, the communicator apparently giv- 
ing wrong information on subjects well known to 
him in life, such mistakes are, on the other hand, 
a great argument in favour of spiritism, for 
the reason that in the average individual we find a 
consciousness that frequently lapses into mcmieiits 
of forgetfulness — and this of even most im- 
portant things — things, too, which we think 
should be well remembered — and this in their or- 
dinary life and under conditions and in the envi- 
ronment to which they are most used* Taking into 
account, therefore, the vastly greater difficulties 
that must be experienced in recollecting and com- 
municating such past events through anoiher't 
brain, and the lapses of memory that frequently 
happen in human beings, we can quite conceive 
that, even should a real spirit be communicating) 
as it is claimed, the difficulties would be such that 
frequent errors of memory would be made, and 
erroneous facts stated, on subjects that would be 
well known to the individual, were he still alive. 
The difficulty might be just as great as, e. g., con- 
trolling our dreams by voluntary effort, and we 
know that the individuals who can do that are few 
and far between.^ 
1 See p. 919. 


Finally there is the objection as to the triviality 
of the messages, this being, to many minds, the 
most important objection to the Piper case. ** If," 
they say, " the intelligences are really what they 
claim to be, — that is, spirits, — why do they not 
tell us something of real utility or permanent 
▼alue, something that could be of some real tuef 
Why do they not tell us some scientific facts, or 
leave us some ^mobling teaching, or some state- 
ment that could be verified as other than contained 
in living minds, thus showing that there was some 
independent consciousness at work? The answers 
.to this objection are manifold. In the first place, 
Professor Hyslop showed by direct experiment 
that even the most intelligent men, when directed 
to establish their identity by means of telegraphic 
communications, deliberately chose trivial, personal 
incidents, and did not select any important scien- 
tific facts or any message that would convey the 
idea that the intelligence communicating was above 
the average, though they were, in fact, univer- 
sity professors. The next answer is that we have 
no scientific knowledge, and, indeed, the presump- 
tion is all against the fact, that the moment we die 
we gain greatly enlarged spiritual insight . and 
foresight ; t. ^., immediately upon our death. This 
is the great stumblii^g block, especially with those 
persons who are influenced by religious teaching. 


They are still under the impression that the mo- 
ment death occurs we gain almost unlimited knowl- 
edge, and that the stores of the world's wisdom are 
laid open to us ! This is, I think, a very erroncoot 
viewpoint. I can see no reason to suppose that 
simply because of a person's death tluit person 
should gain a larger mental grasp of things or be 
possessed of a wider knowledge than he possessed 
at the moment of his death. Such increase of 
knowledge can only come as the result of a gradual 
process of evolution,- or the result of work, the 
same as in this life, and we have, I think, no 
proof at all of the fact that the communicating in- 
telligence (even granting it to exist and to be the 
person it claims to be) could give us any further 
information than that person was enabled to give 
when alive ; and even supposing that he were^ such 
information would be absolutely valueless, for the 
reason that until proof exists of the reality of the 
communicating intelligence, such statements might, 
and doubtless wovld be taken as a mere fabrication 
of Mrs. Piper's subconscious self, and would have 
no scientific weight whatever. Volumes and vol- 
umes exist of statements made by spirits as to their 
existence, mode of life, work, etc., but such state- 
ments have never received the credence of the scien- 
tific world for the reason that we have no proof 
of the fact that such statements were made by the 


intelligences who claimed to make them, or that 
they were other than workings of the subconscious 
self of the medium ; so that in the Piper case, such 
statements have always been set aside, and the 
whole interest in it centered around the scientific 
problem of ^ personal identity ' or the persistence 
of individual consciousness. This brings me to a 
final reflection ; it is this, which I quote from Pro- 
fessor Hyslop. It is in answer to those persons 
who refuse to accept the evidence in the Piper case 
for the reason that the sort of hereafter they por- 
tray is not a ^^ desirable " one ! 

" If the facts," says Professor Hyslop,^ " make 
the spiritistic theory the only rational supposition 
possible to explain them, it has to be accepted 
whether desirable or not. Our business as scientists 
is not with the desirability of the next life, but with 
the fact of it. We have to accept the life to come, 
if it be a fact, without any ability to escape it, and 
its degenerate nature would not afi^ect the evidence 
for the fact of it. Its being a madhouse or an 
asylum for idiots would not weaken the evidence 
for its existence. . • • The desirability or un- 
desirability of a future existence has nothing to do 
with the scientific question as to whether it is a 
fact.*' With this reflection I shall close the pres- 
ent discussion, which might, of course, be continued 

tSeUn4f0 and a Futurs Life, p. M. 




indefinitely, taking up, in turn, all the difficul- 
ties and objections to each theory and applying 
them in detail to the records and the theories as 
advanced; but such considerations would require 
another chapter. I shall conclude by saying that 
the Piper case contains the most important and, in 
fact, the only scientific evidence that we at present 
possess in favour of a future life; and the impor- 
tance of the case from this point of view is very 
great indeed ; in fact, as I have elsewhere stated, it 
cannot be overestimated. 



I PROPOSE to lay before the reader, in this 
chapter, a few remarks upon a subject that has 
been very little discussed, from a theoretical stand- 
point, though the fact itself is hardly questioned 
by those who have made a careful and critical study 
of the evidence for supernormal phenomena in the 
Piper and other similar cases. I refer to the fac- 
ulty (apparently possessed by the medium or the 
intelligences who purport to communicate through 
her) of coming into closer touch with the mental 
and spiritual life of the sitter, and of being better 
enabled to remember a number of forgotten 
facts simply because they are enabled to hold 
(through the medium's hand) certain material ob- 
jects which they previously wore, or handled, and 
which the sitter had brought with him or her in 
order to ** assist in clearing the communicator's 
mind." In both Dr. Hodgson's Report and that 
of Dr. Hyslop are to be found many references 
to this fact — the importance of some material ob- 
ject to act as a means of clearing the communi- 
cator's mind and insuring better and clearer com- 



munlcatlons — though it was only after long yean 
of experimentmg with the trance that the real im- 
portance of having these objects began to dawn 
upon the experimenters. It was only natural that 
this comprehension should be slow in coming, when 
we know that so much fraud is frequently con- 
nected with this very factor — mediums asking to 
hold a letter against their foreheads, e. g.^ in or- 
der to catch a glance at its contents, and so 
on. So when objects were brought to the medium 
at first, it was only right that they should have 
been carefully wrapped up and concealed from the 
medium, though we now know that many of the 
results that might otherwise have been obtained 
were in all probability vitiated or ruined by the 
very precautions employed. Still, in the early 
stages of the investigation, and especially before 
the honesty of the medium was proved to the sat- 
isfaction of all, it was only natural that such pre- 
cautions should be taken; and most unscientific 
would have been the procedure if they had not. 

But now that the facts are all but universally 
recognised — at least among those who have made 
a careful study of the phenomena — the ques- 
tion arises: What is the explanation of the ob- 
served fact? If, e. ^., a sitter should bring a lock 
of hair to a sitting and place it in the medium's 
hand when the person from whose head that lock 


of hair had been cut, when alive, was communicat- 
ing; and if the communications at once became 
clear and relevant, instead of confused and er- 
roneous ; if, again, a pen-knife or a piece of stone 
were placed in the hand with the same results, or 
with the result of inducing a sudden rush of super- 
normal information, what would be the modus 
operandi of this clearer and greatly facilitated 
communication ? In what way have these objects 
assisted in the acquisition of the information im- 
parted? That they must have assisted in some 
way is evident from the very fact that the commu- 
nications did become clearer coid more correct and 
precise. Iii what mcmner have they influenced or 
affected the medium or the communicator in order 
to bring about these unlooked-for results? 

That is certainly a most baffling question, one 
that I shall not attempt to answer, of course, be- 
cause its entirely correct solution will not, in all 
probability, be forthcoming for many years yet 
— until a far better comprehension and grasp of 
psychic phenomena be prevalent than is prevalent 
today. But, if only for the purpose of clearing 
away some popular misconceptions on this subject, 
and in order to stimulate reflection among members 
of the S. F. R. and others who think upon these 
questions, I may, perhaps, be permitted to offer 
the following tentative remarks. 


It Is generally conceived that the object carries 
with it some subtle physical influence or ^^ aura " 
which, in some manner, influences the medium or 
the intelligence communicating through her.^ 
This belief is the basis of all ** psychometric ** read- 
ings, of course, and is a very convenient one to 
hold, and can be made a very plausible one. So 
far back as 1885, Mrs. Henry Sidgwick offered a 
somewhat similar view — or rather hypothesis — 
as one of four explanations of haunted houses, 
conceiving it possible that some such influence 
might cling to the atmosphere of a house — 
much as its physical atmosphere clings to it — * 
and in some manner might influence the minds and 
senses of those who lived in such a house thence- 
forward, or at least for some considerable time, 
until the influence might be supposed to ** wear 
off." Similarly, it might be that every object, 
worn by a person, or closely associated with him, 
physically, might in some manner be influenced by 
him or impregnated with his " psychic atmos- 
phere," and so might be the means of bringing 
that person or influence to the medium to commu- 
nicate; or assist him to communicate, while there) 

1 For the sake of clearness of expression, I shall speak) 
throughout, of the "communicators" as if they were real 
intelligences or personages. This is for the sake of con- 
venience, merely, and must not be understood as canying 
with it any adhesion to the uefinitely spiritistic view. 


by bringing him in touch, as it were, pro tem^ 
with old influences and associations. And this 
idea is still further supported by the fact that arti- 
cles brought to the stance for the purpose of 
*^ holding" a communicator and rendering his 
communications more clear and intelligible are 
far more potent and influential if they have been 
previously wrapped up in oil or rubber cloth and 
carefully protected from all external influences — 
the touches of, and handling by, another person 
particularly; if, indeed, such handling does not 
ruin the influence altogether. These facts, then, 
would seem to indicate that some such physical in- 
fluence exists, in fact, and that it has, in some man- 
ner, the power ascribed to it. 

Granting, then, for the sake of argument, that 
such an influence does exist, how are we to conceive 
it as stored in the object handled? how does it in- 
fluence the medium? how the communicator? how 
recall incidents forgotten by him until that mo- 
ment? and how facilitate communication? Such 
are some of the puzzling questions that arise as 
soon as we begin to put our theory to the test and 
see how far it assists us in clearing up the present 

Are we to conceive this influence, this emana- 
tion, this ^^ aura," as in some sense magnetic or 
electrical? If so, then how are we to differentiate 


the magnetism or the electricity of one person from 
that of another; for magnetism and electricity 
are not supposed to be in any sense ^^ personal " in 
their nature, but rather universal, and intimately 
associated with every particle of matter in the uni- 
verse — living and not-living. Evidently, there 
must be some means of differentiating the influence 
of one person from that of another, and this would 
render the influence ^^ personal " and distinguish it 
from the ordinary magnetism or electricity, of 
which we are accustomed to speak. Is it, then, to 
be conceived as in some sense tAtal in character — 
consisting in, or partaking of, the vital energy of 
the person to whom the article formerly belonged? 
Well, what is this vital energy? Has it ever been 
measured, ever detected by any of the delicate in- 
struments which science has perfected — instru- 
ments so delicate that they can measure the energy 
of light waves, or detect the heat of a candle at 
the distance of half a mile? Have such instru- 
ments ever detected the existence of any vital force 
or vital energy — * semi-material, or semi-fluidic, in 
character? We know that they have not. It is 
true that the early mesmerists contended that such 
an influence actually existed, and produced many 
facts in support of their contention; but these 
facts have now all been accounted for by the laws 
of conscious and unconscious suggestion; and^ 


though I should be the last to contend that such 
an influence does not and cannot exist, the in- 
fluence will never be proved by mesmeric experi- 
ments, but must have other, independent facts in 
its support if it desires to be accepted by the sci- 
entific world. 

Granting, again, for the sake of argument, that 
such an influence or effluence does exist, in spite of 
the fact that it has never been detected, how are 
we to conceive it as stored within the object han- 
dled or worn? Is it merely contained within its 
structure, like water in a sponge; or does it be- 
come an actual part or property of the object, like 
gravitation? One cannot well conceive it to be 
the latter; and it seems to be definitely disproved 
by the fact that it can be lost or dissipated, for 
which reason the articles in question are wrapped 
up in oil or rubber cloth, and otherwise protected. 
If it is merely present within the article, again, as 
water is present in a sponge, how does it influence 
the medium and the communicator? Is the in- 
fluence lost or dissipated by much handling, or 
does it remain forever in the object? Experi- 
mental evidence would seem to point to the former 
conclusion, though nothing definite can be said, as 
yet. The evidence afforded by the oil or rubber 
cloth might again be cited in support of the theory 
that it is lost through handling. 


Stni, granting that such a physidtl, or vital 
effluence or influence exists, how does the medium 
become aware of its existence? We should have to 
suppose it is by means of the sensory nerves, and 
of these, the nerves of totu^h are the ones involved, 
since all the other senses are more or less dormant 
or incapable of rendering assistance in the detec- 
tion and recognition of such an influence. If, 
then, this influence were in some manner transmitted 
along the nerves of touch to the brain, and there 
associated with other impressions, we might begin 
to form some faint idea of the process involved 
were it not for certain difficulties, which the casual 
reader invariably overlooks. Among these are the 

In order that the incoming nervous impulse or 
sensation may be distinguished from any other 
tactile sensation, it must possess some peculiarity 
distinctly its own, for otherwise it would be merely 
registered in the brain as is any other tactile sen- 
sation whatever, and would excite no especial psy- 
chic impression one way or the other. The sensa- 
tion would be carried along the nerves to the brain, 
as is any other tactile sensation, and would not 
appear to be essentially distinct from these. But 
if the nervous impulse conveyed from the hand to 
the brain be along the medium's own nerves, we 
must surely conclude that this nervous impulse is 


the medium's also; for otherwise we should have 
to assume that an altogether alien and foreign 
nerve-fluid of some sort was introduced into the 
nerve channel (inoculated, as it were), and that 
this impulse, travelling to the brain, influenced it 
in its own peculiar way. This imparted nervous 
impulse bearing the characteristics of the nervous 
system of the other person (the person deceased, 
on our present hypothesis) and belonging to that 
person's nervous system, we might conceive that it 
would act upon the medium's brain (as a tactile 
sensation) in a manner somewhat peculiar, and 
different from, the ordinary tactile sensations of 
the medium, and would excite the brain and nervous 
system in a different way. That is, the brain 
would, pro teviy function in a manner familiar to 
the communicator, but unfamiliar to the medium. 
Of course, this is all conjecture, pure and simple, 
and is based upon the supposition that some sort of 
nerve impulse is passed from the object itself into 
the nerves of the hands, and by them conveyed to 
the medium's brain — a fact for which we have no 
confirmatory evidence whatever. I am not saying 
that such might not be possible ; for if we can con- 
ceive the nervous mechanism of the medium's body 
(as, on the " possession " theory, we are bound to 
conceive) usurped and controlled by a spirit, we 
can imagine or conceive many things. And cer- 


tainly this th^ry is as rational as any other ; none 
other accounting for the facts equally well 
.What we should have to conceive, then, on this 
theory, is that this peculiar and characteristic ner- 
vous impulse reached the medium's brain while still 
carrying with it its own peculiarities, and that it 
impressed that brain in its own peculiar way, and 
that this impression was recognised by the intelli- 
gence controlling the brain and utilising it for the 
time being — all of which, taken together, seems 
to me to be a pretty good strain upon one's credu- 
lity. We have the facts to account for, however, 
which are an equal strain upon our credulity and 
must be explained in one way or another, or the 
problem given up altogether. 

The manner in which such objects might be sup- 
posed to influence the medium's brain is now clear, 
and we can conceive that the controlling intelli- 
gence, acting upon the brain and nervous mechan- 
ism of the medium, might be influenced by the 
peculiarly familiar functioning of a certain centre 
or set of centres, and so arouse in him the associa- 
tions which were previously lacking, or enable him 
to recall certain facts, before forgotten. In this 
way communication would be facilitated to just 
that extent, and so render the communications 
clearer and more relevant to the occasion. 

It is true there is another way of accounting 


for the observed facts, or a very large portion of 
them. To this view very few of the objections 
formerly raised can be said to apply, because we 
are not led into any of the intricate speculations 
which the former and commonly held theory 
necessitated. In this case, we might conceive that 
the influence is purely psychological, and that the 
communicator merely remembers more facts con- 
nected with a certain person, place or thing by 
reason of his seeing the article in question. This 
would involve nothing more occult than a simple 
association of ideas, the sight of the object 
bringing up to the mind of the communicator a 
chain of thoughts until then latent, of memories 
long forgotten. This would dispose of the physi- 
cal-influence theory and all the difiSculties it pre- 
sents, and is consequently much to be preferred, 
if it covers and explains all the facts. It is doubt- 
ful, however, if it does so. Thus, in those cases 
where an article is brought and placed upon the 
table or in the medium's hand, which the supposed 
control did not know when alive (and hence could 
not recognise and associate with anything), the 
explanation can hardly be said to apply. For this 
article, too, seems to greatly facilitate the commu- 
nications and to better them (to say nothing of 
the well-attested phenomena of psychometry), and 
this would be far more easily explicable on the 


physical-influence theory than on the mental-asso- 
ciation theory. And this objection would also 
apply to those cases in which objects belonging to 
other persons were presented to the medium and 
the communications facilitated in like manner. 
Again, if the mental-association theory were the 
true one and sufficient to account for the facts, 
why should we have to wrap up the articles pre- 
sented so carefully ; for if physical influences had 
nothing to do with the article or the medium's 
impressions therefrom, it should make no difference 
to either medium or communicator whether the 
articles were exposed to the atmosphere and mis- 
cellaneous handling or not. Yet, so far as I have 
been enabled to learn, there is a decided difference 
— ^ so great, in fact, as to altogether annul the ef- 
fects of the experiment altogether. So that, while 
there are many points in favour of the mental- 
association theory, it has not everything its own 
way, as some persons think; and, indeed, it is 
doubtful if it really explains many of the facts in 
the case at all. 

There is yet another objection to the mental- 
association theory which I might urge in this place. 
It is this: it would have to be assiuned that the 
communicator could actually see the object pre- 
sented, for otherwise the theory would not hold. 
If he had to depend upon touch alone, all the diffi- 


culties above enumerated would at once present 
themselves for solution. No; he must see the ob- 
ject, as with the physical eye, in order to associate 
it with any scenes, events, or persons in his past 
life. Now, we have very little evidence that spirits 
can see our material world, as we see it, at all ; the 
spirits themselves state this, on nimierous occasions ; 
their failure to procure information, read books, 
etc., is a further indication of this; and it is in 
fact admitted by all those who have closely studied 
and brought in reports upon the Piper ccuse. Cer- 
tainly they do not see when communicatingy though 
they may possibly see, very dimly and indistinctly, 
at other times. This is a subject that will stand 
working out in greater detail, on another occasion ; 
but as I cannot do so here, I leave that branch of 
the discussion, merely calling attention to the 
fact that all the objections formerly raised to this 
theory still apply: the communicator can only 
associate with other things an object which is 
familiar to him and which suggests such associa- 
tions, and any unfamiliar object would never 
arouse these associations, and never could. 

It may be contended that I have been too ^^ ma- 
terialistic " in my treatment of the problem, in the 
above discussion, and failed to take account suffi- 
ciently of the purely * psychic ' or * spiritual * 
sense or discernment with which mediums and psy- 


chics are theoretically endowed. It may be cxoh 
tended that such material things as nerves and 
brain centres and sensory perceptions are not in- 
volved in the case at aU, but that the knowledge k 
gained by some purely psychic or spiritual per- 
ception. I confess that I cannot see or even con* 
ceive how this can take place. If the object were 
a consciousness, then I could understand that such 
close association might well effect the results ; but 
when the thing touched is an inanimate object^ I 
confess that such an ** explanation " does not 
really explain, when we come to apply it in de- 
tail. For the idea that the actual past thought of ■ 
a person should be registered in the object in some 
way, M a thought, is absolutely incomprehensible 
to me; even preposterous. But it might be con- 
tended that the object is charged with a sort of 
vital magnetism by the person originally handling 
and wearing such object, and that this influence 
might afi^ord a sort of vital-association with the 
sitter's thought, in some transcendental worlA 
Let me illustrate what I mean a little more fully. 
It is contended by a certain school of mystics that 
every thought is registered upon " the Absolute ** 
in somewhat the same way that a spoken word is 
registered upon a wax cylinder, and that it re- 
mains there forever; that it is possible to regain 
and re-read that thought, by suitable means, un- 


der appropriate conditions. Such is the theory. 
Now if this be true (let us assume its truth for 
the sake of argument, pro tern), then it might be 
that every thought, thus registered, would bear on 
it the stamp or impress of the individual thinking 
it; it would *^ belong " to him or her and to none 
other. It would belong to him for the reason that, 
between him and the registered thought, there was 
an intimate and more or less perfect rapport. 
Now we can conceive that (if this were the case) 
the communicating intelligence might be, in some 
way, brought into more perfect rapport with the 
previously registered thought when the object 
previously worn was presented to it, for the rea- 
son that this object would bring back to the mind 
certain thoughts and associations belonging to the 
period when that thought was " registered," and 
we all know that association is a very large part of 
memory. In other words, a certain thought or 
set of thoughts was registered upon the Absolute, 
let us say, upon a certain occasion, and there were 
many associations linked with such thought. If 
now this object were the means of bringing the 
mind of the communicator into rapport with the 
previous state or condition of memory, in which it 
was enabled to re-read the thoughts previously 
^ registered " in the manner suggested (because 
of the rapport supposed), then we might on this 


theory have some faint idea of the modus operandi 
involved. But as the whole idea of the Absolute 
is purely speculative and theoretical, I do not think 
that such explanations can ever be seriously ad- 
vancedy unless some proof be adduced of the cor- 
rectness of the theory and of the existence of the 
postulated Absolute. We look with mingled in- 
terest and impatience for such proof. 

It will be seen, then, as the upshot of this dis- 
cussion, that the popular impression (that some 
" aura " emitted from the object impressed the ner- 
vous mechanism of the medium and influenced the 
controlling intelligence through it) is not nearly 
so simple an explanation as at first sight appeared, 
but one that is highly detailed and complex, and, 
when analysed down to its core, is not really intel- 
ligible at ally unless we are prepared to make 
some monstrous assumptions and advance hypoth- 
eses for which we have no adequate evidence and 
for which there is no analogy in the physical or 
mental worlds. But, as before pointed out, the 
facts must be explained, in any case, and the field 
is open for explanations that will really explain. 
Perhaps some of my readers may be enabled to 
throw some light on this question; for my own 
part, I must confess it is to me a baffling and as 
yet an insoluble mystery that confronts us and 
defies adequate explanation. 



IF we take up any book dealing with the history 
of the ' supernatural/ we find that the vast ma- 
jority of the phenomena observed and recorded 
deal with cases of apparitions or haunted houses. 
As, however, I have discussed this question of 
haunted houses in another chapter, and as they 
are, in one sense, simply ^localised' apparitions, 
— that is, apparitions that have been seen by a 
niunber of successive individuals in one particular 
locality, or by a number of individuals at one time 
in that locality, — I shall in the present chapter 
dismiss that branch of the subject and confine 
the discussion to cases of apparitions that have 
been observed at various times, the various types 
of apparitions, and a discussion of the theories 
that have been advanced by members of the S. P. R. 
and others by way of explanation. In spite of 
the fact, however, that apparitions have been re* 
corded with greater frequency than any other class 
of psychic phenomena, as I have said before, they 
have doubtless received a greater amount of ridi- 
cule from the world at large, and are less believed 
in than almost any other branch of psychic inves- 



tigation. From one point of view, it is hard to see 
why this is the case; but looked at from another 
standpoint, it is quite natural. When a figure is 
seen, and suddenly vanishes, there is no proof that 
this figure is not a mere subjective hallucination, 
similar to those figures seen in feverish conditicms, 
in delirium tremens, etc. ; and in fact, the sdentifie 
and medical worlds have always record^ them nA 
simple hallucinations or illusions, and while inter- 
esting in a sense, from a psychological standpoint, 
are certainly not worthy of serious consid? 
eration as affording any evidence of the super- 
normal ; and this position, so far as it goes, is per: 
fectly logical and justifiable. Since we know that 
hallucinations of the kind do occur, what proof 
have we in any case that the figure seen is not a 
hallucination, the result, perhaps, of a disordered 
mind, or a morbid physiological state? But apart 
from the phenomena presented in haunted houses, 
there are many facts tending to show that the fig- 
ures seen are not, in many cases, mere subjective 
hallucinations, such facts seeming to indicate that 
the figure has some cause or source other than 
the mind of the seer* One of the first indications 
is the fact that, in numerous instances, the figure 
or phantom is seen by two or more persons at the 
same time, which would seem to prove that there 
is some outstanding entity, or some cause acting 


upon two minds, causing them each to perceive the 
figure in the 9ame manner and at the same time, 
since, if such figure were purely subjective, how is 
it that such coincidence occurred? Many psy- 
chical researchers contend, indeed, that the figure 
seen in such cases is an actual, outstanding en- 
tity, and is not subjective or * psychological ' at all. 
This brings us, of course, to a consideration of the 
nattire of the figure seen, — some contending that 
it is a more or less material, fluidic, ethereal body ; 
others that the explanation is solely psychological, 
and that the explanation is to be found in this 
field, rather than in the physical world. Between 
these two schools there is an ^impassable gulf,' 
and the S. P. R. set out in its career with the in- 
tention of seeing if this gulf could not be bridged 
and a rational explanation of such apparitions put 
forward, — if, «. e., the reality of such facts could, 
in one sense or another, be proved. Many such 
cases of apparitions were, consequently, collected, 
and, since the founding of the Society, it may be 
said that such cases have now run into the thou- 
sands. Very soon it began to be noted that there 
was a connection, in a very large percentage of 
cases, between the figure seen and the death of the 
person represented by such figure, and that there 
was, apparently, some coincidence between the death 
and the a|rgarition seen. Now what is this coinci- 


dence? It was at this period that Messrs. Gurney 
and Myers came forward with their ingenious 
theory of * telepathic hallucinations/ extending 
the theory of thought-transference, which had been 
practically demonstrated by experimental means, 
to cover such ' spontaneous ' cases, as they were 
called. Let me make dear just here, in brief out- 
line, what that theory is. I quote from an earlier 
article of mine, entitled **A Study of Appari- 
tions,*' ^ as follows : 

^^ We have two persons, A and B, whose honesty 
we will take for granted. A is the ** agent,'* B 
the ** percipient.'* B is taken into <me room, 
while A remains in a different part of the house, 
thus absolutely severing any connection between 
the agent and the percipient. A pack of cards 
is now shuffled and one drawn at random. It is, 
say, the nine of clubs. A fixes his eyes and 
thoughts on this card, and (sometimes) after more 
or less time spent in the operation, B perceives 
(more or less clearly) an image of the card chosen. 
The image may form before the eyes in space, or, 
if looking at a blank sheet of paper, the number 
of figures, or whatever the chosen article is, may 
appear as if written on the paper, to the percipient, 
and may be traced. So vivid is this mental pic- 

1 Published in the Psychic and Occult Viewi and U*- 
tnews, December, 190^, and January, 1903. 


ture to some people (those who are credited with 
exceptional powers of visualisation, or thought- 
transference) that it actually appears enlarged 
when viewed through a magnifying glass, and is 
reflected in a mirror. These figures are obviously 
as objective to the seer as any real external object 
is, for the time being; nevertheless, they are hal- 
lucinations, and purely subjective; so that the the* 
ory of the objective phantom being proved to be 
an outstanding entity because it is seen (sometimes) 
to be reflected in a mirror is, obviously, inconclu- 
sive. Any drawing or visible article may be thus 
reproduced in a good subject, the object appearing 
as if real to the percipient. Now, if a picture may 
be thus mentally transferred from one mind to an- 
other, why not the mental picture of some person? 
A sits down and wills that a mental image (an hal- 
lucination) of himself may appear to B. This 
^ thought-image " actually does come into B's 
mind, and, taking the form of a visual hallucina- 
tion, leaves the percipient under the impression 
that he has seen a ^^ ghost." That this has been 
successfully attempted several times, the English 
Society for Psychical Research most positively as- 
sures us, and the cases may be read in full, to- 
gether with the discussion to which this question 
has, very naturally, given rise. 

Now, all this falls under the head of ^^ experi- 



mental thought-transference,'' and it may yetj 
naturally be argued that when a man is dying, 
however much he may be thinking of home, he will 
not spend his time in trying to cause a ^ double ^ 
of himself, a ^^ telepathic hallucination,'' to be per- 
ceived by those who are near and dear to hinu 
Much less is this the case where instantaneous 
death puts an abrupt termination to all thought, 
so far as we know. The apparition appearing in 
this case is the result of spontaneous telepathy, 
and over this we exercise no control. This phe- 
nomenon, however, very rarely exhibits itself ex- 
cept under great mental stress, which would be the 
case, most assuredly, at the moment of death. This, 
then, is the generally accepted explanation of 
apparitions seen at the moment of that physical 
change which is known to us as death." 

Of course this theory was valueless so long as it 
was not proved beyond question that such coin- 
cidences occurred with greater frequency than 
chance could account for. Whether or not they 
did occur had to be proved mathematically, and 
Mr. Gumey set out upon the immense task of 
demonstrating this, and to all fair minds succeeded 
beyond question in proving, in his monumental 
work, Phantasms of the Livings that coincidences 
occurred with greater frequency than chance 
could account for. But, in order to make as- 


surance doubly sure, the Society continued its 
efforts, organising an international statistical 
inquiry, and obtained some thirty thousand an- 
swers in response to its inquiries relative to figures 
seen, death coincidences, etc. The result of its 
labour was published in Volume X, Proceedings 
S. P. R., occupying the entire volume as the Re- 
port of the Committee on the Census of Hallucina- 
tions. In this it was proved beyond question that 
such coincidences did occur with greater frequency 
than could be accounted for by chance, and from 
that day it may fairly be said that practically all 
impartial minds who have studied the evidence have 
become convinced that there is some causal con-^ 
nection between deaths and apparitions of the dying 
person, which, as the Committee stated, they re- 
garded as a * proved fact * ! This telepathic theory 
also is used to explain ^ collective hallucinations ' 
(i. d those appearing to two or more persons at 
the same time), the theory being that the mind 
of the dying person has either affected both minds 
equally, or that he has affected the mind of one 
seer, who, in turn, has affected the mind of his fel- 
low percipient, causing them both to perceive 
the phantom in the same manner and at the same 
time. This explanation may appear to some a lit- 
tle far-fetched, of course, but there is certain ex- 
perimental evidence in its favour. However, this 


is a question into which we cannot at present go, 
as it would necessitate too lengthy a discussion of 
detailed and technical points. It is true that the 
coincidence, in such cases, has not always been eX' 
act; in many cases the figure is seen some min- 
utes or even hours after the person the phantom 
represented had died, and in such cases, if we dis- 
card the theory of spirit influence acting telepath- 
ically upon the mind of the seer, we are forced to 
assume that the telepathic message was sent at the 
moment of the death of the person the phantom 
represented, but that such message remained ^la- 
tent,' as it were, for some time, until a favourable 
opportunity had been presented for its perception 
or ^ extemalisation.' The length of time that 
such a message can lie latent is, of course, very un- 
certain, but, for statistical purposes, twelve hours 
were allowed; beyond that time the coincidence 
was not reckoned, and the figure was treated as a 
** phantasm of the dead," instead of " the living." 
As this again brings us to the subject of haunted 
houses, I shall leave this aspect of the problem for 
the present. 

There is one most interesting fact in this connec- 
tion that we must now consider; namely, the ap- 
parition that materially afi^ects the world; i. ^., 
some phantoms apparently occasion some defi- 
nite physical changes that are left after their dis- 


appearance, — seeming to prove beyond question 
that such figures are in the nature of a real definite 
outstanding entity, and are not by any means sub- 
jective or the creation of the seer's own mind. In- 
stances are on record in which not only footsteps 
have been heard, but doors have been opened and 
shut, handles turned, door bells rung, furniture 
upset, etc., and such cases present a very delicate 
problem indeed for us to solve. Some investiga- 
tors assert that the phantom is, in many cases, 
definite and material enough to be perceived by 
natural means and actually photographed; others 
assert that such photographs have never been taken 
under suiBciently stringent conditions to insure 
their absolute genuineness. It is, of course, con- 
ceivable that a thought may be enabled to assume 
a more or less material form, such * thought 
bodies ' being the extemalisation of the inner 
thought — one phase, perhaps, of materialisation. 
This, however, is a subject that cannot be consid- 
ered in the present chapter, being altogether too 
detailed and intricate for a general discussion such 
as this. 

There remains one interesting branch of the 
study of apparitions of which I have not as yet 
spoken. These are the so-called * reciprocal * cases, 
where a figure of the agent is seen by the per- 
cipient and, at the same moment, the agent is 


aware that he is manifesting, and actually sees the 
percipient and his surroundings, — -being, apparr 
ently, clairvoyant himself. One most interesting 
case of this kind was reported in Phantasms of 
the Living, when the Rev. P. B. Newnham ap- 
peared to his fianc^ and was seen by her and she 
felt him put his arm around her, but a moment 
later the figure had vanished and she became aware, 
for the first time, that the figure she had seen was 
not Mr. Newnham himself, but an apparition. 
At that same moment Mr. Newnham had himself 
experienced precisely the same sensations that he 
would have experienced had he been there in the 
flesh, — and had seen, clairvoyantly, her surround- 
ings. This is a typical case and illustrates, in a 
most interesting manner, this class of reciprocal or 
mutual psychic action, of which the S. P. R. has 
now collected a number of cases. The natives of 
West Africa assert indeed that they are enabled to 
perceive clairvoyantly scenes transpiring many 
miles away, at the moment that they are actually 
happening, and, at the same time, to * materialise,' 
as it were, at the other end, being visible and tangi- 
ble to the percipients who may happen to see the 
figure. This materialisation or figure is, they as- 
sert, material enough to move objects and eflFect 
other changes in the physical world. We are at 
present unable to assert that this is an impossibil- 


ity, though the S. P. R. has as yet collected no 
well authenticated case of this character. Still, 
cases are on record which in some ways approximate 
this and enable us to assert that it is not an in- 
herent absurdity or in any way impossible. 

And this brings us to a final reflection, with 
which I will close. It is well known that cases of 
double consciousness exist in which two distinct 
and separate mental lives are lived by the individ- 
ual, each possessing its own stream of thoughts, 
its own personality and character. 

These * selves ' are doubtless fractions of the 
total self, each one being a portion of the sublim- 
inal self — that portion of our psychic being in 
which telepathy, clairvoyance, etc., operate. Now 
if we can conceive each personality — distinct in 
itself — possessing the power to project itself^ as 
it were, and in some sense materialise during such 
projection, forming a phantom or ^ double ' of 
that self (which we might possibly conceive it to 
symbolise in its physical aspect), we should have 
a case of the actual projection of that portion of 
our personality that was active at the time; and 
if we could conceive further that, in any definite 
individual, there is massed into one such person- 
ality all the evil traits, and into another person- 
ality all the good — the two mental lives being dis- 
tinct and each being enabled to project its own 


image or double as above suggested — we should 
have here the first glimpses of the possible scien- 
tific explanation of such cases as Stevenson's ^^ Dr. 
Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.'' Such speculations are, 
of course, purely theoretical and tentative, and 
we might say that as yet we have no evidence that 
such cases are actual facts ; but the evidence may yet 
be forthcoming that would warrant our formulate 
ing some such theory, and it is as well, perhaps, 
to be prepared for whatever evidence we may re- 
ceive. The study of apparitions from a scientific 
standpoint has, of course, only begun. In fifty 
or one hundred years from now, we may know 
something of them ; but at present there is next to 
nothing known as to their essence or causation, 
nor is much knowledge likely to be gained until the 
present bigoted and prejudiced manner of treat- 
ing these subjects has been overcome, and they 
are discussed, not as mere superstitions or the re- 
sults of a disordered brain, but as scientific facts, 
to be studied by scientific men in a scientific man- 



^ X 7E have seen, in the preceding chapter, that a 
▼ ▼ figure can be apparently seen and possibly 
even photographed, under appropriate conditions, 
by certain individuals. Such experiments and such 
experiences tend to convince us that the figure 
Been, whether it be soul, double, spirit, astral 
body, or what not, is apparently a far more ma- 
terial body than we have been in the habit of sup- 
posing. Were we to accept the facts as such, and 
interpret them as they are f reqiienty interpreted by 
a large body of investigators, and as they cer- 
tainly appear to be (on their face value), we 
should be forced to come to the conclusion that the 
apparitions frequently seen are semi-material in 
their nature, and are by no means purely halluci- 
natory. If such were the case, and spirits were 
indeed composed of some sort of semi-material 
bodies, capable of reflecting light, then these bodies 
must not only be space-occupying, but must have 
weight. Thus reasoned Dr. Duncan MacDougall, 
whose experiments in " weighing the soul *' created 
such a stir when first they were published in the 
newspapers. We obtained from Dr. MacDougall, 



at the time, all the original documents in connec- 
tion with his experiments, and these were pub- 
lished in the Jowmal of the American Society 
for Psychicfld Research.^ I shall quote a part of 
these records, since they have never as yet reached 
the public, beyond those few individuals (compara- 
tively) who are members of the Society. I shall 
also quote parts of my criticism of these experi- 
ments, together with portions of the correspon- 
dence that followed the publication of these rec- 
ords. I cannot but think that this will be of inter- 
est to my readers, since these are the only authentic 
experiments that have ever been tried in this direc- 
tion, so far as I know. 

Dr. MacDougall's article, entitled ^^ Hypothesis 
Concerning Soul Substance, Together with Elxper- 
imental Evidence of the Existence of Such Sub- 
stance," reads, in part, as follows: 

" If personal continuity after the event of bodily 
death is a fact, if the psychic functions continue 
to exist as a separate individuality or personality 
after the death of brain and body, then such per- 
sonality can only exist as a space-occupying body, 
unless the relations between space objective and 
space notions in our consciousness, established in 
our consciousness by heredity and experience, are 

1 May, 1907. 


entirely wiped out at death and a new set of rela- 
tions between space and consciousness suddenly es- 
tablished in the continuing personality, which would 
foe such a breach in the continuity of nature that 
I cannot imagine it. 

*' It is unthinkable that personality and con- 
sciousness continuing personal identity should ex- 
ist, and have being, and yet not occupy space. It 
is impossible to represent in thought that which 
is not space occupying as having personality, for 
that would be equivalent to thinking that nothing 
bad become or was something, that emptiness had 
personality, that space itself was more than space, 
all of which are contradictions and absurd. 

** Since, therefore, it is necessary to the continu- 
ance of conscious life and personal identity after 
death that they must have for a basis that which 
is space-occupying or substance, the question arises, 
Has this substance weight ; is it ponderable? 

** The essential thing is that there must be a sub-» 
stance as the basis of continuing personal identity 
and consciousness, for without space-occupying 
substi^nce, personality or a continuing conscious 
ego after bodily death is unthinkable. 

** According to the latest conception of science, 
substance or space-occupying material is divisible 
into that which is gravitative — solids, liquids, 
gases, all having weight — and the ether which ia 


non-gravitative. It seemed impossible to me that 
the soul substance could consist of ether. If the 
conception is true that ether is continuous and not 
to be conceived of as existing or capable of exist- 
ing in separate masses, we have here the most solid 
ground for believing that the soul substance we 
are seeking is not ether, because one of the very 
first attributes of personal identity is the quality or 
condition of separateness. Nothing is more borne 
in upon consciousness than that the you in you 
and the me in me, the ego, is detached and separate 
from all things else — the non-ego. 

" We are therefore driven back upon the assump- 
tion that the soul substance so necessary to the con- 
ception of continuing personal identity, after the 
death of this material body, must still be a form of 
gravitative matter, or perhaps a middle form of 
substance neither gravitative matter nor ether, not 
capable of being weighed and yet not identical with 
ether. Since, however, the. substance considered 
in our hypothesis must be linked organically with 
the body until death takes place, it appears to me 
more reasonable to think that it must be some 
form of gravitative matter, and therefore capable 
of being detected at death by weighing a human 
being in the act of death. 

" The subjects experimented upon all gave their 
consent to the experiment weeks before the day of 


death. The experiments did not subject the pa- 
tients to any additional suffering. 

** My first subject was a man dying of tuberculo- 
sis. It seemed to me best to select a patient dying 
with a disease that produces great exhaustion, the 
death occurring with little or no muscular move- 
ment, because in such a case the beam could be 
kept more perfectly at balance and any loss oc- 
curring readily noted. 

" The patient was under observation for three 
hours and forty minutes before death, lying on a 
bed arranged on a light framework built upon 
very delicately balanced platform beam scales. 
The patient's comfort was looked after in every 
way, although he was practically moribund when 
placed upon the bed. He lost weight slowly at the 
rate of one ounce pet hour, due to evaporation of 
moisture in respiration and evaporation of sweat. 

" During all three hours and forty minutes I 
kept the beam end slightly above balance near the 
upper limiting bar in order to make the test more 
decisive if it should come. 

" At the end of three hours and forty minutes he 
expired, and suddenly, coincident with death, the 
beam end dropped with an audible stroke, hitting 
against the lower limiting bar and remaining there 
with no rebound. The loss was ascertained to be 
three-fourths of an ounce. 


^ This loss of weight could not be due to evapor- 
ation of respiratory moisture and sweat because 
that had ahready been determined to go on, in his 
case, at the rate of one-sixtieth of an ounce per 
minute, whereas this loss was sudden and large — 
three-fourths of an ounce in a few seconds. 

** The bowels did not move ; if they had moved 
the weight would still have remained upon the bed, 
except for a slow loss by the evaporation of mois- 
ture, depending, of course, upon the fluidity of 
the faeces. The bladder evacuated one or two 
drachmes of urine. This remained upon the bed 
and could only have influenced the weight by slow, 
gradual evaporation, and therefore in no way could 
account for the sudden loss. 

^^ There remained but one more channel of loss to 
explore, the expiration of all but the residual air in 
the lungs. Gretting upon the bed myself, my col- 
league put the beam at actual balance. Inspira- 
tion and expiration of air as forcibly as possible by 
me had no effect upon the beam. My colleague 
got upon the bed and I placed the beam at balance. 
Forcible inspiration and expiration of air on b's 
part had no effect. In this case we certainly have 
an inexplicable loss of weight of three-fourths of 
an ounce. Is it the soul substance? How else shall 
we explain it? 


" My second patient was a man moribund from 
consumption. He was on the bed about four hours 
and fifteen minutes under observation before death. 
The first four hours he lost weight at the rate of 
three-fourths of an ounce per hour. He had much 
slower respiration than the first case, which ac- 
counted for the difference in loss of weight from 
evaporation and respiratory moisture. 

** The last fifteen minutes he had ceased to 
breathe, but his facial muscles still moved convul- 
sively, and then, coinciding with the last movement 
of the facial muscle, the beam dropped. The 
weight lost was found to be half an ounce. Then 
my colleague auscultated the heart and found it 
stopped. I tried again, and the loss was one ounce 
and a half and fifty grains. In the eighteen min- 
utes that elapsed between the time he ceased breath- 
ing until we were certain of death, there was a 
weight loss of one and one-half ounces and fifty 
grains, compared with a loss of three ounces during 
a period of four hours, during which time the 
ordinary channels of loss were at work. No bowel 
movement took place. The bladder moved, but the 
urine remained upon the bed and could not have 
evaporated enough through the thick bed' clothing 
to have influenced the result. 

^ The beam at the end of eighteen minutes of 


doubt was placed again with the end in sUgfat con- 
tact with the upper bar and watched for forty 
minutes, but no further loss took place. 

**My scales were sensitive to two-tenths of an 
ounce. If placed at balance one-tenth of an ounce 
would lift the beam up close to the upper limiting 
bar, another one-tenth ounce would bring it up 
and keep it iii direct contact, then if the two-tenths 
were removed the beam would drop to the lower bar 
and then slowly oscillate till balance was reached 

" This patient was of a totally different tempera- 
ment from the first, his death was very gradual, so 
that we had great doubt from the ordinary evi- 
dence to say just what moment he died. 

**My third case, a man dying of tuberculosis, 
showed a weight of half an ounce lost, coincident 
with death, and an additional loss of one ounce a 
few minutes later. 

" In the fourth case, a woman dying of diabetic 
coma, unfortunately our scales were not finally 
adjusted and there was a good deal of interference 
by people opposed to our work, and although at 
death the beam sunk so that it required from three- 
eighths to one-half ounce to bring it back to the 
point preceding death, yet I regard this test as of 
no value. 

" With my fifth case, a man dying of tuberculo- 


sis, thei^ showed a distinct drop in the beam requir- 
ing about three-eighths of an ounce which could 
not be accounted for. This occurred exactly simul- 
taneously with death, but peculiarly on bringing 
the beam up again with weights and later removing 
them, the beam did not sink back to stay back for 
fully fifteen minutes. It was impossible to ac- 
count for the three-eighths of an ounce drop, it 
was so sudden and distinct, the beam hitting the 
lower bar with as great a noise as in the first case. 
Our scales in the case were very sensitively balanced. 

** My sixth and last case was not a fair test. 
The patient died almost within five minutes after 
being placed upon the bed, and died while I was ad- 
justing the beam. 

^^ In my communication to Dr. Hodgson I note 
that I have said there was no loss of weight. It 
should have been added that there was no loss of 
weight that we were justified in recording. 

** My notes taken af the time of experiment show 
a loss of one and one-half ounces, but in addition it 
should have been said the experiment was so hur- 
ried, jarring of the scales had not wholly ceased 
and the apparent weight loss, one and one-half 
ounces, might have been due to accidental shifting 
of the sliding weight on the beam. This could not 
have been true of the other tests, as no one of them 
was done hurriedly. 


** My sixth case I regard #ui of no value from tlus 
cause. The same ex{>eriment8 were carried out on 
fifteen dogs, surrounded by every precaution to 
obtain accuracy, and the results were uniformly 
negative: no loss of weight at death. A loss of 
weight takes place about twenty to thirty min- 
utes after death, which is due to the evaporation of 
the urine normally passed, and which is duplicated 
by evaporation of the same amount of water on 
the scales, every other condition being the same, 
e. g.f temperature of the room, except the presence 
of the dog's body, 

** The dogs experimented on weighed from fif tea 
to seventy pounds and the scales with the total 
weight upon them were sensitive to one-sixteenth 
of an ounce. The tests on dogs were vitiated by 
the use of two drugs administered to secure the 
quiet and freedom from struggle necessary to keep 
the beam at balance. 

^* The ideal test on dogs would be obtained in 
those dying from some disease that rendered them 
much exhausted and incapable of struggle. It was 
not ray fortune to get dogs dying from such sick- 

" The net result of the experiments conducted on 
human beings is that a loss of substance occurs 
at death not accounted for by known channels of 
loss. Is it the soul substance? It would seem to 


me to be so. According to our hypothesis such a 
substance is necessary to the assumption of con- 
tinuing or persisting personality after bodily 
death, and here we have experimental demonstra- 
tion that a substance capable of being weighed 
does leave the human body at death. 

^ If this substance is a counterpart of the physi- 
cal body, has the same bulk, occupies the same di- 
mensions in space, then it is a very much lighter 
substance than the atmosphere surrounding our 
earth, which weighs about one and one-fourth 
ounces per cubic foot. This would be a fact of 
great significance, as such a body would readily as- 
cend in our atmosphere. The absence of a weigh- 
able mass leaving the body at death would of 
course be no argument against continuing person- 
ality, for a space-occupying body or substance 
might exist not capable of being weighed, such as 
the ether. 

^ It has been suggested that the ether might be 
that substance, but with the modem conception of 
science that the ether is the primary form of all 
substance, that all other forms of matter are merely 
differentiations of the ether having varying densi- 
ties, then it seems to me that soul substance, which 
in this life must be linked organically with the 
body, cannot be identical with the ether. More- 
over, the ether is supposed to be non-discontinu- 


01189 a continuous whole and not capable of existing 
in separate masses as ether, whereas the one prime 
requisite for a continuing personality or individ- 
uality is the quality of separateness, the ego as 
separate and distinct from all things else, the non- 

** To my mind, therefore, the soul substance can- 
not be the ether as ether, but if the theory that 
ether is the primary form of all substance is true, 
then the soul substance must necessarily be a differ- 
entiated form of it. 

** If it is definitely proven that there is in the hu- 
man being a loss of substance at death not ac- 
counted for by known channels of loss, and that 
such loss of substance does not occur in the dog, 
as my experiments would seem to show, then we 
have here a physiological difference between the 
human and the canine at least and probably between 
the human and all other forms of animal life. 

^^ I am aware that a large number of experiments 
would require to be made before the matter can 
be proven beyond any possibility of error, but if 
further and sufficient experimentation proves that 
there is a loss of substance occurring at death and 
not accounted for by known channels of loss, the 
establishment of such a truth cannot fail to be of 
the utmost importance. 

" One ounce of fact more or less will have mow 


weight in demonstrating the truth of the reality of 
continued existence with the necessary basis of sub- 
stance to rest upon than all the hair-splitting the- 
ories of theologians and metaphysicians combined. 

" If other experiments by other experimenters 
prove that there is a loss of weight occurring at 
death, not accounted for by known channels of loss, 
we must either admit the theory that it is the hy- 
pothetical soul substance, or some other explana- 
tion of the phenomenon should be forthcoming. 
If proven true, the materialistic conception will 
have been fully met, and proof of the substantial 
basis for mind or spirit or soul continuing after 
the death of the body, insisted upon as necessary 
by the materialists, will have been furnished. 

*^ It will prove also that the spiritualistic concep- 
tion of the immateriality of the soul is wrong. 
The postulates of religious creeds have not been a 
positive and final settlement of the question. 

^^ The theories of all the philosophers and all the 
philosophies offer no final solution of the problem 
of continued personality after bodily death. This 
fact alone of a space-occupying body of measure- 
able weight disappearing at death, if verified, fur- 
nishes the substantial basis for persisting per- 
sonality or a conscious ego surviving the act of 
bodily death, and in the element of certainty is 
worth more than the postulates of all the creeds 


and all - the metaphysical arguments combined. 
** In the year 1854 Rudolph Wagner, the physi- 
ologist, at the Grottingen Congress of Fhysiob* 
gists proposed a discussion of a ^ Special Soul- 
Substance.'' The diallenge was accepted, but no 
discussion followed, and among the five hundred 
voices present not one was raised in defence of a 
spiritualistic philosophy. Have we found Wag- 
ner's soul substfiuice? " 

These si>eculations cannot fail to have great in- 
terest to my readers, of that I am assured. Dr. 
MacDougall's speculations as to the nature of the 
soul are beside the question, for our present pur- 
poses, and I shall not stop to consider them now. 
After all, the proof or the disproof of Dr. Mac* 
Dougall's theories, or even of his facts, would have 
no final and conclusive bearing upon the prob- 
lems of psydiical research one way. or the other. 
As Dr. Hyslop said at the time: **It should be 
observed that the problem of psychic research is 
not affected by either success or failure in such ex- 
periments as Dr. MacDougall's. One might even 
contend that success in proving the loss of weight 
by death in some way not ordinarily accountable 
by physical theories would not prove that the resi- 
duum was a soul. It might be some vital energy) 
and the soul yet remain an imponderable form 


of substance. It might even be that vital force, 
if such there be other than the orthodox chemical 
theory of life, is also imponderable, and that the 
residuiun in such experiments as Dr. MacDougall's 
would be some form of matter not yet known. All 
that successful experiments would prove would be 
that there was some form of energy unaccounted 
for by known agencies, and not necessarily that 
this residuum was the subject of consciousness. 
The problem of psychic research, in so far as it 
represents the search for a soul, concerns the evi- 
dence that consciousness survives death, and that 
is a psychological, not a physical problem* Even 
after we proved that aomething survived death, we 
should still have to prove that it was conscious and 
also to prove that it was the same consciousness 
that we had once known as a living human per* 
8on. That can be determined only by communi- 
cation with the discamate, and any conclusion es- 
tablished by that method would be indifferent to 
the question whether the subject of consciousness 
was ponderable or imponderable. Failure to 
prove that the residuum in such experiments as 
Dr. MacDougall's is ponderable would not affect 
this question of personal identity. It would re- 
main a legitimate suit or question in any case, es- 
pecially as we are privileged to assume imponder- 
able and space-occupying substances. As for 


myself, I have no objections to the Leibnitzian or 
QBoscoTitchian point of view, which is that the ulti- 
mate nature of substance is spaceless. I do not ac- 
cept that view, but I have no facts or philosophy 
that require me to contradict it. I simply ascer- 
tain facts and accept the conclusions which they 
make imperative, and hence I make no d priori as- 
sumptions as to what the substance of the soul or 
of anything else must be. That has to be deter- 
mined by the facts, not by hypotheses antecedent 
to facts." 

At the time these experiments were published, I 
advanced some adverse criticisms, bearing upon 
this question, and at the same time corrected cer- 
tain newspaper stories that had been going the 
rounds, — certain statements having been attributed 
to me which I had never made. I went on to say 
that such experiments as these would have to be 
repeated a number of times before they could gain 
recognition from the scientific world, especially as 
all former experiments in this direction seem to have 
yielded opposite and contrary results. Thus : 

" It has very frequently been asserted that this 
experiment has been tried, and in Hibbert's Life 
and Energy will be found a Chapter entitled * Is 
Life Matter? ' in which this question is consid- 
ered and the author comes to the immediate con- 


elusion that life is not matter owing to this very 
fact — that the dead body does not weigh less than 
the same body, alive. I am unaware of any first- 
hand accounts of such a series of experiments hay- 
ing been made, however, and it would be amusing 
if it should turn out that such experiments never 
had been made — after science has stated so dog- 
matically for so many years that the question had 
already been settled past all dispute! 

" For, after all, the whole question is one of ac- 
tual experiment, and can never be settled by specu- 
lations of any sort —■ philosophic or otherwise. 
Whether the soul is or can be a space-occupying 
body or not is beside the question, it seems to me, 
and should not enter into any argument based upon 
observed facts; or, if so, it should be allowed 
weight only as a personal opinion, and in no wise 
influence the conclusions drawn from a study of 
the facts. Taking the experiments, then, as Dr. 
MacDougall has described them, the question 
arises: Granting that the facts exist, as stated, 
would these results prove the contention that the 
observed loss of weight was due to the exit from 
the body of some hypothetical soul substance, or 
may the facts (granting them to exist, as stated) 
be explained in some such manner as to render Dr. 
MacDougall's hypothesis unnecessary? 

^^ I must say that Dr. MacDougall seems to have 


provided pretty thorougMy against all normal 
losses of weight. His papers indicate this clearly. 
The only channel that need be taken seriously into 
account is the lungs ; i, e., the loss of weight due to 
expired air. It therefore becomes a question of 
the amount of air the lungs may contain, and its 
consequent weight, — granting, for the sake of ar- 
gument, that every particle of air is forced out of 
the lungs at death. A cubic foot of air, at the or- 
dinary temperature, and at sea-leveU weighs about 
one and one-fourth ounces, we are told — a state- 
ment that is confirmed by the Encyclopedia Brir 
tannica and other authorities. In the cubic foot 
there are 17S8 cubic inches. Now, we know that 
the average capacity of the lungs of a healthy 
human being is about S25 to 250 cubic inches;^ 
but let us say 300 cubic inches to be on the safe 
side. This is, as nearly as possible, one-sixth of an 
ounce, granting that all the air is expired at death 
— for which we have no evidence — and that the 
lungs contained as much as 800 cubic inches of air. 
This is also a practical impossibility, in such cases 
as those quoted, for the reason that this represents 
the state of healthy lungs at the moment of 
the fullest inspiration. The majority of persons, 
however, could not inhale 200 cubic inches (the 
twelfth of an ounce), while consumptive patients, 
iKirke» Physioiogy, p. 9e2. 


dying, and in the last stages of the disease, would 
not contain within their lungs anything like 100 
cubic inches — - the eighteenth of an ounce. When, 
therefore, Dr. MacDougall tells us that more than 
a whole ounce is lost instantaneously, at the mo- 
ment of death, we must seek elsewhere than in this 
direction for the explanation of the facts. 

^^ First of all : May it not be that there are some 
etheric or electrical conditicms of the body which 
are no longer present i9if ter death, ceasing at that 
moment, yet in no way connected with any form of 
thought or consciousness? It does not seem to 
have occurred to Dr. MacDougall that, coincident 
with life, there may be present certain electric or 
other activities of the body, which cease at the mo- 
ment of death, but are in no sense causal of the 
thought and consciousness, that are also coinci- 
dental with life in the body. Both conditions may 
be present in a living body, though one may not be 
<»usal of the other in any degree. Both are merely 
coincidental. It is quite possible — not to say 
probable — that consciousness acts on some sort 
of etheric medium, which in turn acts upon the 
nervous mechanism, and that, at death, conscious- 
ness (itself spaceless and weightless) withdraws at 
once from the organism, while the etheric medium 
withdraws more or less gradually, according to the 
condition of the organism at the time -^ this, in 


turn, determined by the duration and the severitj 
of the attendant disease. In some cases, such as 
consumption, where we might ahnost say the body 
has died before it dies, we might assume that this 
etheric medium would leave the body rapidly and 
be noticed immediately, while in other diseases this 
withdrawal would be much slower, and would not be 
registered by the balance until some considerable 
time after the death, and in such cases would have 
no evidential value, since (like apparitions of the 
dead, as opposed to apparitions of the living) 
there would be no coincidence to form the striking 
event. Such a withdrawal would account for the 
facts, perhaps, without resorting to the supposition 
that consciousness was in any way that which 
caused the loss of weight indicated by the balance. 
" However, all the above speculations are purely 
hypothetical, of course, and would have no weight 
with the materialist — who does not accept either 
consciousness as an entity, or the hypothetical 
etheric medium I have postulated. He has, how- 
ever, to explain the facts, which seem to be pretty 
well established. Is it possible to form some sort 
of explanation without even resorting to the ' bio- 
logical metaphysics * in which I have just in- 
dulged? Some experiments I have made, and some 
observations of certain cases, cause me to think that 
these losses and gains of weight might, perhaps^ 


be accounted for in other ways. I present some 
facts for the reader's consideration. 
. " I have been enabled to watch the progress of a 
number of cases of patients who have had their 
health restored to them by means of the Fasting 
Cure ; i. e., the process of abstaining entirely from 
all solid and liquid food for a number of days 
— thirty, forty, fifty, and longer — with the al- 
most uniform result that health has been restored 
to these persons, though they had previously been 
given up to die by the physician in charge of the 
case. I have embodied the results of these obser- 
vations in my book, V itjoUt^ ^ F astin g and N utrin 
tuyru One chapter — the one that concerns us 
here — is devoted to * The Loss and the Gain in 
Weight.' I found that, by comparing a num- 
ber of cases suffering from a number of different 
diseases (or, as I hold, different aspects of the 
same underlying cause), an average loss of weight 
was noticed which I calculated was as nearly as 
possible one pound per diem. We might assume, 
therefore, it would seem, that sixteen ounces was the 
* ideal ' loss of weight, so to speak, were it not 
for the fact that all the persons undergoing the 
fast were more or less diseased, and I had pre- 
viously shown that all diseased persons (as a rule) 
lose more weight than the same persons in health. 
After some further discussion, I was forced to the 


conclusion that twelve ounces represented the ave^ 
age daily loss of weight of persons in health, or 
one-half an ounce each hour. This would seem 
to coincide to some extent with the results of Dr. 
MacDougall, conducted on other lines for different 
reasons. But all this and other discussion does not 
concern us so much here, for' the reason that all 
such losses and gains in weight are intelligible and 
can be explained by the known laws of physiology. 
The interesting point, in this connection, is this: 
I noted that, on several occasions, losses and gains 
of weight were noted that could not so readily be 
accounted for — and losses and gains not of 
ounces, merely, but of pounds. Let me give some 
illustrations. There was held, at the Madison 
Square Garden, New York, an athletic contest, 
all the participants in the contest having to enter 
upon it after having fasted, absolutely, for seven 
days. The object was to show that we do not lose 
strength while fasting in the way that most per- 
sons think we do, and so successful was the demon- 
stration that several of the contestants actually 
made world's records at that time. However, this 
is not the place to call attention to those facts. 
What I wish to say, particularly, is that, during 
this week, one of the contestants, a Mr. Estrapper, 
* instead of losing weight, actually gained three- 
quarters of a pound! . . . This weight was 


very accurately ascertained, and there was no pos- 
sible source of error through which a mistake could 
have been made. . . . The measurements and 
weights were taken with the greatest care, and the 
contestants were imder the strictest surveillance 
throughout the whole period, and were frequently 
observed and examined by New York physicians 
and others.' Mrs. Martin, of Stapleton, S. I., 
-gained weight during a fast of eight days. Dr. 
Rabagliati has recorded one case in which the pa- 
tient gained one and one-half pounds in three 
weeks, on a diet of less than eight ounces of food a 
day, ninety per cent, of which was water.* I my- 
self have observed several cases almost or quite as 
remarkable. Mrs. B. (after a four days' fast) 
gained eight pounds on three meals and one plate 
of soup. Each of the three meals was very light, 
and certainly did not weigh anything like a pound 
each. Mrs. C. again (after a twenty-eight days' 
fast) gained ten pounds in six days, on no solid 
food whatever — liquid food only being allowed 
during this period. The food consisted in broths 
and fruit juices, and a very little milk. Dr. T. L. 
Nichols has recorded a case in which a patient of 
his gained weight on less than three ounces of solid 
food each day." ^ 

1 Air, Food and Ex&reUe», pp. 20^S, 
s Tke Diet Cure, p. 90. 


Here, then, we have certain cases in which weight 
is gained by some means, through some channel, 
other than that recognised by physiologists — at 
least, so it would appear. The fact that certain 
persons gained more weight than the food they ate 
certainly seems a physiological paradox, for the 
reason that we are supposed to increase our flesh 
and weight solely from the food we eat* And if 
more weight is gained than the food eaten, how are 
we to accoimt for the facts? In such cases, are 
we to attribute the gain in weight to added soul 
substance? We might be tempted to do this, yet a 
long study of these cases has convinced me that such 
a course would not be necessary. It ia possible to 
have some sort of hypothetical explanation of the 
facts — paradoxical as they may seem — on other, 
normal grounds. In some cases great denseness of 
tissue is present — it is obstipated, as it is called — • 
and when such a person fasts, he or she oxidizes off 
a part of this too-solid tissue and fills in the inter- 
stices with water, which the patient is at liberty to 
drink, always, during the fast. This is, at least, 
the explanation which I have been driven to adopt, 
none other seemingly covering the facts. 

There are also cases in which an extraordinary 
loss of weight has been noticed. I have known of 
one ease in which the patient lost forty pounds in 
three weeks, while fasting three days at a time, and 


eating one meal on the fourth. More remarkable 
still is another case in which the patient lost 
seventy-five pounds in twenty-one days of an ab- 
solute fast — an average of almost three and one- 
half pounds per diem. Still, these cases might per- 
haps be accounted for, since the patients were both 
very stout women, and, in all such cases, weight is 
very rapidly lost. Still, how are cases to be ex- 
plained in which great loss of weight is noted 
through purely mental trouble, though the per- 
son may have, throughout this period, all the food 
he cares to eat; and loses weight, moreover, at a 
greater rate than if he ate nothing at all? Prob- 
ably the most remarkable case of this kind — one 
that cannot be explained by any of the ordinary 
laws of physiology — is that recorded by Rear- 
Admiral Greorge W. Melville, U. S. N., and pub- 
lished in his Report to the Smithsonian Institute. 
The passage runs as follows : 

^^ It is on record that one individual in a New 
England town several months ago actually entered 
a metallic burial casket and was sealed up for a 
period of one hour. He simply demanded that the 
glass plate over the head-piece be not covered, and 
that the individuals conducting the test should look 
through the head-plate at intervals, so that he 
could smile at them. It was rather a ghastly test, 
but it was a successful one, although the individual 


undergoing the operation lost five pounds in the 
undertaking! In this test the man did not prob- 
ably have two cubic feet of air to draw upon.^ 
Here, then, we have a loss of weight that, if re- 
corded correctly, cannot be explained by known 
laws of physiology, since the person undergoing 
the test took no bodily exertion, and the loss can- 
not be due to any of the known channels of loss. 
Would such a test indicate that soul substance had 
been lost? Evidently not, since the man continued 
to live. In such a case, then, we have a decrease 
in weight that cannot be explained by present-day 
physiology ; and, until such cases are in some meas- 
ure accounted for, it is at least premature to assert 
or even propose that an observed loss of weight, at 
the moment of death, is due to any soul substance, 
or that it has any necessary connection with soul 
or consciousness at all. While, then, I think that 
Dr. MacDougall has certainly made some most in- 
teresting and important discoveries, and that 
further experiment along these lines is greatly to 
be desired, we cannot hold out much hope that we 
shall, by such means, ever demonstrate that the 
human soul weighs an ounce, even though the 
reality of the losses be proved. The conditions at- 
tendant upon death are so little known, and the hu- 
man organism is subject to such queer variations 

1 The Submarine Boat, p. 723, 


in weight, even when alive, that many and positive 
proofs will have to be forthcoming before his in- 
terpretation of the facts, even though they them- 
selves should be established, can be accepted by sci- 

When the above criticism was published. Dr. 
MacDougall issued a rejoinder, stating that my 
explanations did not explain, and that the case 
quoted by me, of the immense loss of weight when 
shut in the coffin, could be accounted for by reason 
of the fact that such a body would perspire pro- 
fusely, and would in all probability lose weight in 
that way. I think that this is quite probable, but 
the case cannot be settled now for want of confirma- 
tory evidence. The experiments are likely to re- 
main in their present position of isolation and 
uniqueness until a further series of experiments are 
tried — which, let us hope, will be in the near fu- 



THERE is probably no more interesting branch 
of psychical research, yet none about which 
the public is more misinformed, than the subject of 
haunted houses. Cases of ^ hauntings ' have oc- 
curred, or at least have been reported, through- 
out the history of all ages, with probably greater 
frequency than any other phenomena of this char- 
acter; but though the early literature of the sub- 
ject contains very numerous accounts of such 
cases, the S. P. R. has been unable ever to definitely 
bring to light more than four or five well authenti- 
cated cases, that would stand the test of impartial 
and exact scrutiny. Still, such cases form a 
nucleus around^ which may gather those of more 
dubious origin, and, providing these are definitely 
proved to exist, the other cases receive more or less 
greater impetus towards credibility, and, should 
such cases be collected in sufficient numbers, would 
necessitate our accepting haunted houses as more 
or less definitely established facts of nature, 
though as yet it must be acknowledged that this 
certainty has not been achieved. Still, there are 
enough well-attested cases en hand to warrant the 



average psychical researcher in accepting the fact 
of their existence in some form or another, without 
definitely accepting any theory as to their explan- 
ation, and I think that any impartial mind who 
has studied the evidence will accept the fact of the 
haunting in some cases, at least, whatever theory 
of the facts is held, or whatever construction may 
be put upon the phenomena observed. 

The typical " haunted house " is too well known 
to need description; more or less vague visions be- 
ing seen by one or more members of the household, 
footsteps in different parts of the house, sighs, 
sobs, moans, and fragments of sentences being 
heard, more or less distinctly, — and sometimes 
even touches, and other more material evidences be- 
ing recorded, — serving to establish, apparently, 
the objectivity of the ghost. Those of my read- 
ers who are interested in such phenomena I would 
refer to Mrs. Crowe's Night Side of Nature, or 
to two modem cases, one ^ by Miss Morton, en- 
titled " Record of a Haunted House,'* and one a 
book by Miss X., entitled The Alleged Haunt- 
ing of B Hotue. It is not the province 

of this paper to go into the alleged facts in 
such cases, since I shall take it for granted that 
the majority of my readers are familiar with the 
phenomena of haunted houses, as they are gener- 

1 Proceedings S. P. R., VoL VIII, pp. 311-39. 


ally reported, and shall here but briefly consider 
the various theories that have been advanced by 
way of explanation. 

Mrs. Sidgwick in her most interesting article on 
** Phantasms of the Dead " * advanced, tentatively, 
four theories in explanation of haunted houses. 
Briefly, and in outline, they are as follows : 

Theory 1. The ghost is an outstanding, ob- 
jective entity — a real, more or less material be- 
ing which actually exists in the material world, and 
exists whether perceived by a seer or not. That is, 
a ghost is a separate entity, and exists whether or 
not the seer is present to perceive it. This, of 
course, is the commonly accepted theory and the 
one the public conceives as the true explanation of 
all cases of so-called haunted houses, involving a 
more or less material being — a * materialised soul,' 
so to speak. To this theory there are, of course, 
various objections. In the first place, it is taken 
for granted that there is such a thing as a soul to 
exist, which is precisely what we set out to prove 
in investigating all such cases, and to accept it as 
already proved is a monstrous assumption. An- 
other objection is that, were the so-called ghost 
really to exist independently, it would doubtless be 
seen by two or more persons at the same time; but 
this is very rarely the case, even when several per- 

1 Proceedings S. P. R., VoL III, pp, 69-150. 


sons are together, — though this has sometimes 
happened, — and in any case the objection is not 
altogether valid for reasons that have been ad- 
vanced in the last chapter. The great and most 
crushing objection to this idea of the ghost is the 
old argument as to the ghost's clothes. Ghosts in- 
variably appeared clothed, and, if they are real 
outstanding entities, their clothes must be ghostly 
counterparts of their material raiment also, since 
they are part and parcel of the figure and insep- 
arable from it ! This old objection has never been 
satisfactorily answered by the advocates of the ex- 
ternal objectivity of apparitions, and I shall merely 
state it and pass to the next theory advanced in 
explanation of haunted houses. 

Theory 2. This theory was, I believe, origi- 
nated by Mr. Podmore, or at least elaborated by 
him, and he is its staunchest defender. The the- 
ory in brief is this: that one occupant of the 
house has experienced a subjective hallucination, 
visual or other, consequent upon the abnormal 
mental condition of the percipient, or person see- 
ing the ghost, which mental condition may have 
been engendered by purely material causes being 
misinterpreted — such as the dropping of water, 
perceived as footfalls, etc. — or have a purely sub- 
jective origin in the morbid imagination of the 
seer. Having once conjured up this imaginary 


figure, which would, in this case, it must be ob- 
served, be nothing more than a hallucination, this 
figure might appear again to the same percipient, 
owing to the association of ideas, or to other mem- 
bers of the house, the mental condition being then 
communicated by thought-transference from the 
original seer; and, when these occupants move and 
others occupy the house, the thoughts of the for- 
mer occupants might, by thought-transference, so 
affect the minds and senses of the then inhabitants 
as to predispose them to perceive the images for- 
merly beheld by the occupants first perceiving 

The objections to this theory are also, of course, 
many. In the first place, we should have to assume 
(and this is a monstrous assumption) that the 
mind of the first seer was in some manner morbidly 
affected before he saw the ghost in the first in- 
stance, and of this, in many cases, we have abso- 
lutely no proof. And further, we should have to 
assume (and this is again a monstrous assumption) 
that this person could, all unconsciously, affect the 
minds of the following tenants, by telepathy, to 
such an extent as to predispose their minds to be- 
hold the same apparitions. And why should the 
two series of apparitions agree in appearance, as 
they apparently do? As Mr. Andrew Lang has 


so humorously remarked : ^ " Surely the peace of 
us all rests on a very uncertain tenure ! '* 

Theory 8. This theory assumes that there is, 
in the house, some " subtle physical influence,'* 
abiding either in the walls, in the atmosphere, or in 
some article of furniture in the house, which is 
capable of afi^ecting, in turn, each tenant, caus- 
ing them to be afi^ected, to a certain extent, in some- 
what the same manner. The ^ atmosphere ' spoken 
of is, of course, psychic, not physical ; and I think 
there is a great deal to be said in favour of this 
theory, and that not enough consideration has 
been given to it in the records of psychical re- 
search. That persons do carry with them their 
own individual * aura ' or atmosphere, there can be 
no doubt ; and though it is, of course, quite intangi- 
ble, it is nevertheless distinctly felt by those psy- 
chics attuned to receive and appreciate such influ- 
ences. The spontaneous aversion of two persons 
one to the other, or the case of " love at first sight '* 
might, it has been pointed out, be explained upon 
this theory of the mutual blending or repulsion of 
the psychic aura of the individuals. And that this 
extends to the so-called inanimate world, to a lesser 
extent, is, it seems to me, undoubtedly true. Cer- 
tain subjects can collect and retain such impres- 

1 Cock Lane and Common Seme, p. 149. 


sionSy and be capable of arousing in the sensitive 
the same impressions as those with which thej are 
charged, when handled again by such psychics ; and 
of this fact we have constant proof in the phenom- 
ena of psychometry and trance-mediumship — for 
example, the case of Mrs. Piper. As Miss X so 
well remarked,^ "A house might perhaps be de- 
scribed as being in a ^ haunted atmosphere.' This 
question of atmosphere is so exceedingly subjec- 
tiye that the sensation is difficult to analyse. It 
is one of which all ^ sensitives ' are conscious, 
both as to places and persons, and I am inclined to 
think that in both cases the emotion is telepathic 
Most of us know, in some degree, the overwhelming 
sensation of the presence of Westminster Abbey, 
or whether we chance to be very loyal or no on 
hearing * God Save the Queen * sung by a thous- 
and voices, or the sight of a lifeboat, or a relic 
of Prince Charlie, or a warhorse that has been in 
action, or the colours used at Waterloo or Bala- 
klava, or of the mast of the Victory. We may dis- 
miss the emotion as simply * cosmic,' but I venture 
to think that we are, some of us, overwhelmed be- 
cause we are for the moment the subject of the 
emotions of others as well as of our own." 

And in other, subtler ways we feel such impres- 

1 Essays in Psychical Research, pp. 41-^. 


slons. I have myself, for instance, when entering 
a certain room, found myself humming an air, all 
unconsciously, which I had been humming in that 
same room on the last two or three occasions in 
^hich I had been in it, and at no other times; 
that is, the atmosphere of the room had, appar- 
ently, in some way influenced my unconscious mind 
to the extent of associating with it, and with it 
only, that particular tune. And it seems to me 
that this same influence might extend to a greater 
degree, and in a more forcible manner, in arous- 
ing, in our subliminal consciousness, thoughts and 
associations of a more subtle, psychic character, 
which might tend to externalise themselves, when- 
ever in that room, in phantasms — visual, auditory 
or tactile. 

The objections to this theory are, of course, al- 
most too apparent to be pointed out, and I shall 
not dwell upon them here. That an influence of 
this character must involve more or less mentality 
or consciousness is obvious; and if mentality is in- 
volved, then this mentality is either that of some 
all-pervading consciousness, or of some individual 
either known or unknown to the beholder; and if 
the latter is the case, it involves a consideration of 
the fourth theory, which I outline herewith. 

Theory 4. Mr. Myers, in his article on " Rec- 


ognised Apparitions Occurring More Than a 
Year After Death/' ^ has so beautifully stated this 
theory that it would be impossible for me to do 
better than quote herewith ; but owing to the length 
at which the theory was there elaborated, it is im- 
possible for me to do so at sufficient length to jus- 
tify quotation, and I shall consequently give a 
brief r^sum^ of his theory. 

Mr. Myers, then, started with the admitted fact 
of telepathy, or thought-transference between the 
living. He endeavoured to show that its action was 
that of soul to soul; that is, that it was an imma- 
terial, non-physical thing, and belonged solely to 
the immaterial, psychic or spiritual world. Conse- 
quently, he argued, telepathy was, in all probabil- 
ity, the mode of communication between soul and 
soul when rfwembodied, — that is, spirits thus com- 
mune with one another; and this agrees with the 
statements made by ' spirits ' who have, according 
to their own account, returned to tell us of the con- 
ditions * on the other side.' From this Mr. Myers 
goes on to argue that it is more than probable that 
it is the mode of communication between spirits 
either embodied or disembodied, and that one may 
be embodied — that is, alive, — and the other may 
be disembodied — that is, dead — and yet telepathy 
be the means of communication between them. Now 

1 Proceedings S. P. R., Vol. VI, pp. 13-65. 


if this be true, telepathy is the means by which the 
spirit communicates or sends messages or impres- 
sions to those still in the flesh, and this impression 
may be in the form of a message, warning, intui- 
tion or ' internal voice,' or in the more externalised 
forms of the vision, the voice, or the touch. They 
all originate from the same source, the differences 
being in us — in our mode of apprehension — and 
in the manner in which the message is externalised 
by us, or rendered capable of percepticm by oua* or- 
tlinary consciousness. Thus we see that the spirit 
of the departed person (supposing it exists and re- 
tains its personal identity) may impress the sub- 
liminal consciousness of one still living with an 
imprint or impress of its individuality; and this 
thought may take form or become externalised as 
a visionary image or figure, constituting what is 
popularly known as a " ghost/' It will thus be 
seen that haunted houses may really exist in so 
far as they actually do affect the persons residing 
in them, and that figures really are seen and voices 
heard, though they do not themselves have an ex- 
ternal or actual existence. They really exist so far 
as the mind of the seer goes, and it is not right to 
say that they have no existence at all, since they 
are mental states as truly as any other mental 
states, and all that we know of the external world 
is, after all, but a series of mental states or condi- 


tions. It is true there is no corresponding physical 
counterpart to the apparition or figure seen, mid 
that the figure exists purely in the mind of the 
person seeing it, but the origin of such figure has a 
real external existence — in the mind of a deceased 
person ; and to say that haunted houses do not ex- 
ist is, therefore, obviously incorrect. It is only 
correct if we think of haunted houses in the popu- 
lar sense of the term, — • that is, as houses in whidi 
appear more or less material, externalised figures 
wrapped in sheets and parading about in more or 
less material form. Such, of course, is a crude 
materialistic conception, which cannot be enter- 
tained; but that real influences are at work in cer- 
tain houses, affecting the minds, senses and the 
subliminal consciousness of those residing within 
them is beyond question, and to deny it is to deny 
well-recorded facts, which would be a most unwar- 
ranted proceeding. 

Provisionally accepting, then, this last explana- 
tion as the true one, so far as it goes (or at least 
in combination with one or other of the three for- 
mer theories, elaborated above), let us now con- 
sider one or two of the complex problems into which 
we are led in accepting this theory as the true one. 

There are some cases on record where the inhab- 
itant of a haunted house has been (apparently) 
prevented by some unseen but supposedly physical 


force from accomplishing some act or purpose — 
such, for example, as reaching forth the hand and 
obtaining possession of the matches, etc. In such 
ceases, the individual so attempting to reach forth 
his hand has had it grasped or restrained by some 
unseen hand or force, so much stronger than the 
seer's volition that he has been unable to reach 
them. That, at least, is what the sensation expe- 
rienced is like. This is one very interesting phe- 
nomenon that has been frequently recorded by 
visitors to haunted houses, and I think the ex- 
planation of such occurrences can now be found, 
though I have never seen the explanation I bring 
forward elsewhere. Its rationality must be judged 
by the reader. I merely offer it as a provisional 
theory, which explains the facts without undue 
straining of the intelligent person's powers of 

As previously stated, cases of this character are 
more or less abundant, and are to be found scat- 
tered throughout psychic literature. William T. 
Stead mentions a case of this sort in his Real Ghost 
Stories. But, to illustrate my point, and at the 
same time to render the story credible, I quote a 
case observed by a trained psychical researcher, a 
lady known to all readers of psychic literature, 
an acute observer, and possessing an analytical and 
scientific mind, as all who have read the lady's book 


will testify — I refer to Miss Groodrich-Freer, or 
'^ Miss X/' ^ Miss X. was sleeping, on the nij^t 
in question, in historic Hampton Court, and had 
gone peacefully to sleep, after reading an article 
in the National Review (on '^ Shall we Degrade 
our Standard of Value?"). The account goes on: 

" Nearly three hours later I was suddenly 
awakened from dreamless slumber by the sound of 
the opening of a door against which some heavy 
piece of furniture was standing, in, as it seemed, 
the empty room to my right. I remembered the 
cat [previously mentioned] and tried to conceive 
by what kind of ' rampaging ' she could contrive 
to be so noisy. A minute later there followed a 
' thud,' apparently on this side of the folding- 
doors, and too heavy for even the prize animals of 
my home circle, not to speak of a mongrel stray, 
newly adopted and not yet doing credit to her keep. 
* A dress fallen in the wardrobe * was my next 
thought, and I stretched out my hand for the 
match-box, as a preliminary to inquiry. 

" I did not reach the matches. It seemed to me 
that a detaining hand was laid on mine? I with- 
drew it quickly and gazed around into the darkness. 
Some minutes passed in blackness and silence. I 

1 1 quote the following narrative from her Essays in 
Psychical Research, p. 33. 
2 The italics are mine. — H. C. 


had the sensation of a ^ presence ' m the room, and 
finally, mindful of the tradition that a ghost should 
be spoken to, I said gently, * Is anyone there?* 
" There was no answer — no sound of any kind ; 
and, returning to the theory of the cat and the 
fallen dress, though nevertheless so far influenced 
by the recollection of those detaining fingers as 
not to attempt to strike a light, I rose and walked 
around my bed, keeping the right hand on the edge 
of my bedstead, while, with my left arm extended, 
I swept the surrounding space. As the room is 
small, I thus fairly well satisfied myself that it con- 
tained nothing unusual.". 

Miss X. then goes on to relate that, having as- 
sured herself that the room contained ^ nothing 
unusual,' she prepared herself to go to sleep again, 
when '^ a soft light " began to glow in the dark- 
ness. This gradually increased in brightness and 
extent until a tall, slight woman stood before her, 
who passed through the room slowly, finally rais- 
ing her hands to her face in the attitude of prayer, 
^^ when quite suddenly the light went out, and I was 
alone in the darkness.'' 

^^ I felt that the scene was ended, the curtain 
down, and had no hesitation in lighting the candle 
at my side ** (p. 84). 

Now, there are several interesting points in the 


above narrative. Miss X. knew, of course, that 
Hampton Court has the reputation of being a 
^' haunted house," but that would not in any way 
affect an investigator of her sane and sceptical turn 
of mind. It must be remembered that Miss X. 

spent several weeks in * B House ' for 

the express purposes of studying the phenomena 
there, on behalf of the Society for Psychical Re- 
search, and anyone who reads her book wiU recog- 
nise that she is a calm, cool, clear-headed witness, 
who regards the phenomena observed as sden- 
tiiSc facts, caUing for careful, exact observation. 
But let us suppose that the figure now seen was 
nothing but the result of expectancy and sugges- 
tion ; that the figure was no more than a hallucina- 
tion. I am willing to admit all that, for the mo- 
ment. The point to which I wish to call particular 
attention, in the above narrative, is the fact that 
the fingers were apparently detained by some un- 
seen hand, and that, when the figure had vanished, 
and the ** haunt " ended, the seer experienced no 
difficulty in reaching the matches and lighting one. 
This most interesting phenomenon has been re- 
corded in several stories of haunted houses, and is 
one well worthy of our careful consideration.^ 

1 Bulwer makes use of this idea in his Haunters and tk§ 
Haunted, but the phenomenon has been observed carefully 
several times, within the past few years. 


The first crude theory that an actual disembodied 
spirit is present, and places his detaining fingers 
on the seer's hand, will hardly receive a hearing 
from the scientific world, even that part of the 
scientific world which accepts telepathy and even 
spirit-communication as reahties. We must» ac- 
cordingly, find some theory or explanation which 
will render the facts inteUigible, and at the same 
time not strain too far our ideas or beliefs in the. 
matter. In short, we must seek some theory that 
will explain the facts in the case, and at the same 
time depart as little as possible from the " known,'* 
i. e.f the facts and theories that are already ac- 
cepted by all psychical researchers. 

In order to do so, it will be necessary for us to 
* go back,' for a few moments, and consider the 
phenomena of hypnotism — the reason for this 
will appear as we proceed. 

One of the most common experiments performed 
in hypnotic exhibitions is the inhibition of the sub- 
ject's will in some certain line, — the preventing of 
the subject from saying some word or accomplish- 
ing some act he had it in mind to do. In such 
cases, the operator or hypnotist suggests to his 
subject that he cannot possibly perform some cer- 
tain act requiring volition (such as stepping over 
a crack in the board floor, for example), and the 
subject finds himself utterly unable to do so. Here 


we have a case of direct inhibition of voIuBtary 
moyement by hypnotic suggestion. The com- 
mand is, howeyer, spoken by the hypnotist, and the 
subject hears with his ears in the normal way. 

Now, we know that telepathy is a fact in nature 
— at least, most psychical researchers believe it to 
be a fact. We know that thoughts and commands 
can be carried by this process from one mind to 
another, by other means than through the five 
senses. Such being the case, it is only natural to 
suppose that there might be such a thing as 
telepathic hypnotism in the world — ». ^., hypnosis 
induced by telepathic means instead of by the 
spoken word. With these thoughts in mind, a 
number of experiments were tried in France,^ and 
with entire success. The subject was sent to sleep 
by the operator when he was at a distance, the 
time at which the subject fell into trance corre- 
sponding to the time the * willing ' was in progress 
at the operator's end. There could be no decep- 
tion in these experiments, since the subject did not 
know when they were to be tried; and she was 
certainly not in collusion with the operators, who 
were none others than Prof. Pierre Janet, Mr. F. 
W. H. Myers, and Mr. Gurney. The experi- 
ments must therefore be considered conclusive so 
far as they go, and seem to establish telepathic 

1 Recorded in Proceedingt S. P. R^ Vol. IV, pp. 127-88. 


hypnotism as a fact in nature, whether understood 
and explained or not* y'' 

Now, if all this is so, it seebis highly probable 
that the dead (granting that they exist at all) 
might also exert some telepathic influence on the 
minds of the living, as suggested above, and this 
influence, inasmuch as it is operative at all, is prac- 
tically hypnotic in character, since it afi^ects the 
minds of the living, causing them to see and da 
things they would not see and do otherwise. If the 
telepathic suggestion from the dead is that the 
subject perform a certain action, he does so, with- 
out knowing the ccaue of this silent prompting or 
command. If, on the other hand, the suggestion 
from the mind of the dead person is to the effect 
that a certain action be not performed, then the 
subject is unable to perform that action, without 
his being aware of the cause of his inabihty to 
perform it. In short, just as the subject, in the 
hypnotic exhibition, is rendered Incapable of per- 
forming some act of volition because of the opera- 
tor's suggestion, so, I suggest, may the hand of the 
* seer ' or subject, in such cases as that quoted 
above, be rendered unable to reach the matches, or 
perform some other similar act of voUtlon,— he is 
prevented from doing so by the telepathic sugges- 
tion from the mind of the dead operator. In such 
cases as the above. In short, the hand is restrained, 


not by the fingers of some external phantom, but 
by a species of post-mortem telepathic hypnotism,. 
which inhibits the action, just as the action would 
be inhibited by a spoken or telepathic suggestion 
from the living. 

I offer the above theory, believing that it con- 
tains at least a grain of truth, though I have never 
seen it worked out in detail before and used as an 
explanation of the recorded phenomena. 




GRANTING that houses surnamed '' haunted 
exist, it becomes a legitimate part of any in- 
terested man's duty to investigate the causes of 
such haunting — to ascertcdn, so far as possible, 
what the nature of the influence about the house 
may be, and if disagreeable to remove it, or at 
least attempt to do so. That these influences are 
at times malign and evil cannot be doubted by any- 
one who has examined the mass of evidence that 
exists upon this subject; and it is true that many 
persons inhabiting haunted houses would give 
much to be relieved from the influence that hovers 
about them, and in no wise encourage or like the 
ghostly visitations of which they are the recipients. 
It would be unnecessary to adduce any great show- 
ing of proof upon this point, since it may be said 
to apply to all inhabitants of haunted houses, 
except those few individuals who may be residing in 
the house, temporarily or permanently, in order 
to study the phenomena for scientific purposes. 
It is true that many of these cases turn out to be 
due, not to supernormal action or influence at all, 
but to trickery, hallucination, or other purely 



natural causes; but there are cases on record, be- 
yond a doubt, in which some influence of a psy- 
chical sort exists in and about the house ; and it is 
almost certcdn that this influence is at times evil 
and malevolent. 

One need but call to mind such a case as Thi 
Great AmJurst My$tery (in which fires were 
lighted in various parts of the house, the medium 
was cut and stuck full of pins, etc.), or — if the 
physical manifestations arouse incredulity — such 
a case as that studied by Miss X. and the Marquis 
of Bute, where, after some weeks' stay in the 
house. Miss X. was forced to write : ^ The gen* 
eral tone of things is disquieting. Hitherto, in 
our first occupation, the phenomena affected one 
as melancholy, depressing, and perplexing, but 
now all, quite independently, say the same thing — 
that the influence is evil and horrible — even poor 
little Spooks [dog] was never terrified before as 
she has been since our return here. The worn 
faces at breakfast are really a dismal sight.'^ ^ 
The nature of these influences so impressed the Hon* 
John Harris that he imagined a band of hypnotists 
were attempting to influence the inmates of the 
house by hypnotic telepathic suggestion-! ^ 

1 The Alleged Haunting of B House, p. 210. 

2 See Inferences from Haunted Houses and Haunted 


In many other cases, also, the influence im- 
presses the owners of the house in the same manner ; 
and in nearly every instance would the owner be 
glad to rid the house of its ghostly occupants. 
This being the case, the question arises: How 
may we so rid it? Are there any forces and laws 
we may put into operation that would drive the 
haunting intelligences from their home? Can we 
devise any apparatus or any plan that would be 
instrumental in driving the influences from the 
house in question, leaving it free for its fleshly 
occupants? If so, such a knowledge would be in- 
valuable to the resident of the house, and the pl^n 
might at all events be tried — perhaps with com- 
plete success. 

At all events, I propose to lay before the reader 
some theories and ideas that I have recently f ormu- 
kted in my own mind, and, wrong and crude a^ 
they may be, they may yet, nevertheless, be of 
some assistance to persons dwelling in houses of 
the kind under discussion who feel that they are as 
impotent to cope with the forces and influences 
into whidi they are thrown as is the diver who feels 
about his body the supple arm of the giant octopus. 

First, what is the nature of these influences? 
My subsequent account will have a tendency to set- 
tle this point. There are, roughly speaking, four 
theories. (1) Telepathic influences from the liv- 


ing; (2) telepathic influences from the dead; (3) 
some physical influence or ^^ aura " that exists in 
and about the house, affecting the minds of those 
who dwell in it; (4) spirits as entities. It is need- 
less to say that the fourth of these is by far the 
simplest, and the one which covers and explains all 
the facts in the most rational and comprehensive 
manner, if spirits, as such, are ever proved to 
exist. Although there are certain arguments in 
favour of all the other theories mentioned, I shall 
adopt the last-named, for the present purposes, and 
try it as a working hypothesis.^ It is true that 
there is much to be said against this view of the 
matter and in favour of the other theories — that 
I do not deny ; indeed there are certain facts going 
to show that a simple suggestion^ if properly de- 
livered, will rid the house once and for all from in- 
fluences of the sort mentioned above. Aside from 
regular exorcisms, incantations, sprinkling with 
holy water, etc., which may be considered 
" bread pills," and so suggestions, for all prac- 
tical purposes, there are such cases s& the follow- 
ing, given by Miss X. in her Essays in Psychical 
Research. The passage seems to me to be one of 
the most interesting and suggestive ever penned. 

1 This does not conflict with the theory advanced in the 
last chapter, as will presently appear. For our present dis- 
cussion, theories (^) and (4) may be merged into one. 


'After describing a haunted house of the typical 
sort, the vain efforts to get rid of the ghost, etc., 
Miss X, goes on to say : 

" Not satisfied with his preliminary researches, 
he [the investigator] next morning invited his 
hostess to conduct him once more over the house, 
already explored from cellar to attic. He had not 
gone into detail as to the box-room and its con- 
tents, and Mrs. Z.'s travelling boxes, the chest con- 
taining, let us suppose, the summer clothes and the 
muslin curtains, the deck chairs for the garden, 
the extra mats and blankets were all simple enough. 
The house was new, and there was not the accu- 
mulation of rickety tables, chairs without casters, 
jugs without handles — the melancholy record of 
time and of housemaids. 

" But one piece of spare furniture stood sug- 
gestively in the comer of its adoption, a wooden 
bedstead, an ugly unsanitary anachronism, a splen- 
did text for a suggestion. Its origin was obscure, 
vague, easily represented as mysterious. 

** * Clear out this room,' prescribed the special- 
ist, ^ clean it, whitewash it, put back all else, if you 
will, but bum that bedstead! * 

** It may have been a fetish, a point de repire of 
evil, filled with the gei^s of thought-transference, 
the microbe misnamed ' psychometric,' the bacilli 


of astral and elemental forms; (mt the order may 
have been merely a suggestion, a bread pill; but 
when the bedstead was burnt, that ghost was 

In a case such as the above, there can be no ques- 
tion that the cure was brought about merely by 
suggestion. But there would appear to be numer- 
ous other cases that cannot be thus explained away 
— cases, in fact, in which the ghost refused to de- 
part because of any such measures, but clung to 
the house with grim tenacity, and ultimately drove 
the earthly tenants from the doors! This can 
hardly be ascribed to suggestion, nor, it seems to 
me, to any thought-transference theory, and would 
seem to indicate that some force or influence is 
operative which is sufficiently independent of the 
minds of those in the house to defy and over-rule 
them. Readers of Bulwer Lytton's powerful story, 
The House and the Brain, will recall the feeling 
of intense, masterful Wili that the visitant en- 
countered; and, although this story is, of course, 
a work of fiction, it is more or less closely paral- 
leled by other cases of a similar type — some of 
which are not as yet in print, but which I have had 
the opportunity to read. Such being the case, the 
question arises: How can we ascertain what these 
intelligences are."^ and, if discovered, how can we 


cope with them? These are the problems we must 
now discuss. 

I would begiir by saying, once again, that I 
shall, for the sake of argument, assume that the 
intelligences manifesting in haunted houses are in 
reality spirits of the departed, and use that as a 
working hypothesis. The problem for us to solve, 
then, is this : Can we in any way come into touch 
with these intelligences? and, if so, how? 

Students of psychic matters will remember that 
efforts have been made in this direction before. 
Thus, the clairvoyant " Jane " was directed to the 
haunted Willington Mill in her clairvoyant trance, 
and described the influences about the house and 
the spirits that were said to haunt it. These de- 
scriptions agreed to a certain extent with the de- 
scriptions of those who had lived or spent certain 
nights in the haunted mill.^ Again, automatic 
writing, crystal-gazing, stances, etc., were held in 
the haunted B House, but nothing conclu- 
sive was arrived at. Certainly the investiga- 
tors were on the " right track '* in that case, how- 
ever. Just such experiments may be expected to 
throw a flood of light on cases of this kind, es- 
pecially in view of the fact that automatic writing, 

1 For details of this, see Proceedings S. P. R., VoL VII, 
pp. 54, SS^ 86, 87, and Journal S. P. R., VoL V, pp. 331- 


etc., is occasionally obtained, and only obtained, 
in certain so-called haunted houses, as I happen to 
know. This is a most significant fact, and one 
well worthy of further inquiry and investigation. 
I now come to my theory of the manner for clears 
ing haimted houses of the influences that are sup- 
posed to remain within them. Certain it is that 
the influences, whatever they are, cannot be dealt 
with upon material lines. The man who goes to a 
haimted house with a watch-dog and a loaded re- 
volver is not the sort of investigator who is likely 
to reveal much of interest to science ! No ; the in- 
telligences or influences must be dealt with upon 
psychical lines; they must be, so to speak, beaten 
at their own game. Methods such as crystal- 
gazing, automatic writing, etc., are very useful as 
indicating what the influences are in any certain 
house ; they are '* methods of diagnosis." But 
when we have ascertained that a certain spirit is 
haunting a house, e. g., what are we to do to make 
it leave that house? As before stated, material 
agencies would be of no use; we must resort to 
psychical influences. A medium must be employed 
— one who has around him or her a number of 
tried and trusted controls or " guides," in whom 
he or she can place the strictest reliance. With the 
aid of such a medium, might we not, through his 
or her controls or guides, come into contact with 


the intelligences invading the house in question, 
and, through them, carry on a warfare with the 
unruly intelligences manifesting within the house? 
The suggestion is at least plausible, and the experi- 
ment worth trying. Nay, more, it has been tried, 
and with success. Some time ago, I had sent to 
me a long letter by Greorgia Gladys Cooley — a 
medium in whom I have perfect confidence, so far 
as honesty and rehability go, and who has had a 
number of most remarkable experiences, the fol- 
lowing being one of these. At my request she 
wrote out this account and sent it to me. I here- 
with present it to my readers, feeling assured that 
it will prove of great interest '• — no matter whether 
the statements are accepted as true, or not. They 
at least afford room for thought, and give us a 
clue for the direction in which to look for more 
light in the investigation of this exceedingly dark 
and complex problem. 

** Something over fifteen years ago, an expe- 
rience of rather an extraordinary nature came my 

" In the city of Stockton, Cal., where I was lec- 
turing at the time, a lady came to me, claiming to 
be greatly annoyed by hearing a voice almost con- 
stantly talking to her. The voice purported to be 
that of her first husband, who had passed from 


earth several years before. At times it spoke in 
most endearing tones, and again quite severely — 
presuming to be interested in all her earthly affairs 
and quite dictatorial regarding them. It spoke 
of relatives gone on, and of many things in her 
past life which led her to believe, at times, that it 
might be the voice of her departed companion; at 
other times she felt that it could not be he. 

^^ The attendance of this queer visitor grew 
more constant as the days passed, and became a 
great source of annoyance, as it interfered with 
the woman's rest — the voice often keeping up its 
chattering the greater part of the night. The 
lady, who knew nothing of spiritualism or the oc- 
cult, was sorely upset. On looking into her case, 
I found it was not imagination nor hallucination 
on her part, as I discovered an individual in spirit 
form hovering near her. He was low in stature, 
crass in appearance, and had an exceedingly low 
forehead, covered with dark and coarse looking 
hair. Heavy, dark eyebrows, which met, added to 
his unprepossessing appearance. There were days 
when he would scold her for being over-liberal, and 
perhaps the next day he would call her stingy, etc. 

" I could not now relate a hundredth part of 
what he did and said in order to annoy this good 
woman; and, in time, a new phase of his actions 
manifested itself. The lady felt at times a sen- 


satlon as of someone pinching her, and soon there- 
after a bruised spot would appear upon the flesh. 
I must not forget to state that the description of 
this man, as given by myself, did not tally with 
that of the departed husband. While living, her 
husband had always been very good and kind to 

^* It was an impostor, endeavouring to pass him- 
self off as the departed one. He was low in spir- 
itual development, as well as in intellectual growth, 
and seemed bent upon mischief. With the help of 
wise and generous loved ones of the higher spheres, 
we undertook to rid the lady of her annoying and 
misleading visitor, but found it by no means an 
easy task. He was cynical at first, then grew re- 
bellious, and refused to listen to pleading or kind- 
ness. He was hard to awaken spiritually, and it 
was trying indeed; cunning and shrewdness were 
fully developed, and altogether it was a sad yet 
interesting case that lay before us. 

^^ When he refused to listen to all kindness and 
pleading, force was called into play. I shall state 
immediately how this was done. I cannot go into 
detail now, but will give the essentials of the case, 
which is of great interest, no matter how we choose 
to interpret it. 

" Shortly after retiring one night, and having 
had one nap, I was awakened by some strange 


vibrating force, and saw several forms in the roomy 
as though they had just passed through the door. 
Two were leading or pulling by either arm the 
form of the man that had become so familiar to me; 
and directly back of the form was a third spirit 
known to me as Uncle Eli, who was making passes 
over the head or back of the head of the spirit 
that was being dragged in. They had hypnotised 
him, and by force pulled him from the house ! 

^^ A pallet was improvised in the comer of the 
room, and the poor, helpless fellow placed upon it. 
I knew then that a victory had been won. I 
watched the good friends work on him for a time, 
and then fell asleep — to be awakened in the morn- 
ing to see the same form quietly lying where he 
had been placed. I was informed later in the day 
that the lady had had her first full night's sleep in 
three months. 

" From that night on she was little disturbed — 
the visitor returning but a few times, and upon 
each occasion was taken away immediately. He 
learned to dislike me very much, feeling that I was 
in some way responsible for his losing something 
he felt it his right to possess. He often came to 
me with threats, trying hard to intimidate me, 
but I was too well guarded to fear him. I felt that 
in time he would understand that I was his friend. 

" In his most furious states, he would forbid my 


entering the lady's house, which recalls to my 
mind one strange and almost weird experience I 
had in this connection. 

^^ I had an appointment with the lady one even- 
ing, and was on my way to her home. When 
about two blocks from her house, I saw the Salva- 
tion Army people holding a meeting. I felt im- 
pelled to stop and listen to their remarks, and was 
greatly impressed with their sincerity. When the 
time came to pass the tambourine for offerings, a 
familiar voice said to me, ^ Drop a dollar in,' and I 
followed the suggestion. I turned away and 
crossed the street, when suddenly a man appeared 
before me, put his hand to my throat, and said: 
* If you go to that house, Fll kill you.' Until 
that moment I thought it was a man of flesh, but 
instantly everything was clear to me. I drew back 
in a most positive manner, and declared : ' / am 
going, and you xviU not harm mel * At this the 
figure passed from sight, and I saw it no more 
until I stepped up to the door, when he followed me 
in, took up a position at my right, and stood there, 
apparently listening to everything I said. He 
made several threatening remarks, which I did not 

^^ After I had been in the house a short time, I 
was impressed to form a small circle, which con- 
sisted of the lady in question, her husband, Mr. 


Cooley, and myself. To our surprise the lady was 
influenced by someone who went through the per- 
formance of playing a comet ; this mfluence lasted 
about ten minutes. I then became very clairvoy- 
ant, seeing many familiar spirits and a great many 
unfamiliar ones. Benches were around the en- 
tire room, next the wall, and all were filled with 
(what seemed to me) real human beings — my 
judgment leading me to believe of rather a low 
type, as the clothing of some of the men was torn 
almost to tatters. Their hair was dishevelled, and 
one man had a large, ugly scar over his right 
cheek. The annoying friend was still at my right: 
^^ I was next entranced by Uncle EH, who gave a 
very interesting and encouraging talk, in which he 
told a great many things, of which I was entirely, 
ignorant — one in particular I learned of. He 
addressed the lady I had gone to see, and stated: 
* Not only yourself but this house is obsessed by a 
class of poor, unfortunate, discamate spirits, and 
if it were not for your law, we should advise that it 
be burned to the ground. When you bought this 
house, you thought you got a great bargain, but 
you got much more than you bargained for. You 
have become sensitive and receptive to outside in- 
fluences, and consequently are afi^ected by these 
unseen inhabitants: but fear not, no harm shall 
come to you, as we have brought help this even- 


iBgy and many of them win be released from their 
imprisoned condition.' 

^ He then withdrew, and instantly I was con- 
trolled by a Salvation Army girl who gave the 
name, I believe, of Sarah or Sadie Jones. She 
poured forth a regular Salvation Army lecture, 
imploring the poor souls to go with her, etc., reach- 
ing out her hands as in the act of drawing some- 
thing over to her, encouraging them for their 
bravery, and for an hour worked as any true 
woman of her rank can work, sometimes gently 
yet positively upbraiding someone for daring to 
hold another back; finally turning to the tnortals 
and assuring them that all was well, and that those 
who were to go with her would be on another plane, 
with new interests and surroundings, never again 
to return to their earth-bound state. 

*^ She then gave the lady some advice as to the 
care of herself and her house and withdrew, leav- 
ing a most hallowed and beautiful influence behind 

" During the entire evening I was a silent wit- 
ness, having seen and heard all, and seemed like a 
second person, distinctly outside my own body, see- 
ing it used by those who manipulated it for the 
piUTpose of bringing peace and joy to others. 

" I was informed by the lady that the house, 
though large, clean, and new in appearance, had 


been purchased by her and moved to its present 
locality. It had, she said, been used as a saloon 
for many years, before being altered and partly 
rebuilt, which no doubt accounted for its unseen 
inhabitants, they having been frequenters of the 
haunt in aU probability. 

*^ Uncle Eli also informed me that it was he who 
impressed me to stop and listen to the Salvation 
Army, as well as advised me to help them, as it 
drew their attention to me, and in return they had 
aided him, as he felt that they were the only dass 
who could readily reach these poor unfortunates. 
Thus we learned that each class of spirits has their 
work to do, and ^ in unison there is strength.' 

*^ It was, indeed, a great experience for me, one 
which money cannot buy, as the knowledge derived 
therefrom has been of great value. Perhaps there 
will be many opinions expressed as to the cause of 
such an experience, the nature of the influence, 
etc. — each one having his own theory, as he has 
a right to — but I wish it remembered that, while 
I am a psychic, I think I am a rational being, with 
an average amount of intelligence, not given to 
imagination, but, like the Missourian, being prac- 
tical, I must be shown — as, indeed, I was shown. 
" Yours for truth and progress, 

" Geobgia Gladys Cool-ey." 


The above account speaks for itself, and I can- 
not add anything to it that would be half so 
interesting as the account itself. It may appear 
fanciful to some of my readers, but when we are 
in the realm of spirit who shall say where the 
^ possible ** ends and the *^ impossible " begins? 
All theories apart, however, my object will have 
been attained if the above article serves to direct 
reflection and experiment into a channel hitherto 
all but neglected, but which is, none the less, one 
of the most interesting in the whole province of 
psychic research. 



THERE is always a chann and a fascmatios 
about the future that will continue to attract 
the minds of men so long as the world shall last; 
so long as it remains hidden from man, a mys- 
terious and unknown region, so long will man en- 
deavour to pierce it by every means in his power. 
This desire to peer into the unknown is perfectly 
intelligible, and is only another expression of that 
inquiring spirit which has enabled man to know 
as much as he does of the physical world in which 
he lives. There is a semi-formulated idea in the 
minds of many persons that it is in some way harm- 
ful or wrong to endeavour to pierce the future, 
since it is " one of God's mysteries," and hence too 
sacred to touch or inquire into! I need hardly 
say that it was this same spirit — the idea that it 
was wicked to inquire too closely into the workings 
of the universe — that hindered the growth of 
science and all true progress, and is a perfectly 
unreasonable attitude to take, in view of what has 
occurred in the past. For we are endowed with 
intellect and senses provided for the express pur- 
pose of delving as deeply into nature as it may 



be our good fortune to penetrate; and there is no 
reason to suppose — nothing to indicate — that 
any one portion of the universe (mental, spiritual, 
or physical) should be investigated and inquired 
into and another neglected. It may be quite im- 
possible to see into the future, — that much may 
be granted, for the sake of argument, — but that 
does not affect the question of the legitimacy of 
inquiring into it. Granted that there is here a 
legitimate field of inquiry, therefore, let us turn 
our attention to the facts, and see whether there is 
any real evidence that man ever has pierced the 
veil ; if so, to what extent ; and again, if so, how is 
such foresight to be explained? 

There are many interesting cases that might be 
cited in this connection, all illustrative of the 
faculty of foresight, but we must content ourselves 
in this chapter with a few by way of illustration, 
as it would be quite impossible to prove any such 
thing as a faculty of this kind in a work of this 
general character. The following case is a good 
example of the type of spontaneous case we are apt 
to meet with in inquiries such as ours : 

*^ I was staying with a friend, a clergyman, in 
South Carnarvonshire in March, 1877 I think, and 
dreamt that I was one of a shooting party. One 
of the party shot a woodcock. When I awoke I 


was impressed with a very vivid recollection of my 
dream and its locality, which, as it appeared to me, 
I had never seen before. 

^^ I had no occasion to mention the dream until 
the afternoon, when the following circumstance 
occurred. Returning with my friend from a long 
walk, in the neighbourhood of Madym Park, we 
chanced to fall in with the squire's gamekeeper 
carrying his gun on his shoulder. My friend with 
the keeper walked on some fifty or sixty yards in 
advance of me. 

" They presently turned off the road at right 
angles, and disappeared from my view. When I 
came to the spot where they had left the road, I 
saw them following a path through a dingle. 
Though. I had never been in the neighbourhood 
before, I felt that the scene was familiar to me. 
I stopped to collect my thoughts and reconcile the 
inconsistency. In a moment it flashed upon me 
that this was the scene of my last night's dream. 
I had a strange feeling of expectation; the iden- 
tity of the scene became every moment clearer and 
clearer; my eyes fell upon the exact spot where 
the woodcock of my dream had risen; I was cer- 
tain the event of my dream would be inevitably 
re-enacted. I felt I must speak, and there was not 
a moment to lose. I shouted to my friend : ' Look 


out. I dreamt I shot a woodcock here last night.' 
My friend turned and replied, ' Did youf ' 

" The words were hardly out of his mouth and 
the gun off the keeper's shoulder (I was still in- 
tently gazing at the very foot of ground), when 
up gets a woodcock — the woodcock of my dream 
— - and falls to the keeper's gun — a capital snap 
shot. We were aU not a little astonished, the 
keeper, moreover, remarking that he thought all 
the woodcocks had left the country some weeks be- 

*^ I am, sir, etc., 

" Thomas Wakken Teevou." 

Tn reply to further inquiries, Mr. Trevor stated 
that he had never had any similar experience in his 
life, and that woodcocks were rare at the time the 
dream was fulfilled. The Rev. Cannon Johnson, 
in a letter to Mr. Trevor, corroborated the incident 
in fuU.^ 

This case is very interesting, as, although it was 
a dream (and so open to the old objection that in- 
cidents of the kind occur frequently which are not 
fulfilled), it certainly did not happen frequently to 
this particular man; in fact, he explicitly states 
that he had never before experienced anything of 

1 See ProeeedingM S. P. R., V<^ V, pp. 810-17. 


the kind. The old and generally absurd objection 
of * pseudo-presentiment ' — m., a mere illusion 
on the part of the percipient that he had ex- 
perienced such-and-such an event — would not hold 
good in this case, since the coining event was pre- 
dicted again, just before its occurrence, and cor- 
roborated by another witness. Assuming the truth 
of the witnesses, it is hard to see how chance alone 
could account for such a case as this — a sample 
case, merely, and one much inferior, in strength 
and detail, to many that might be cited, hun- 
dreds and thousands of such cases of both sleeping 
and waking premonitions existing, premonitions 
foreshadowing aU kinds of future events, and seem- 
ing to prove conclusively that what we know as the 
future may (under certain circumstances and con- 
ditions of which we at present know nothing) 
penetrate into the future and foresee scenes and 
events that are about to happen. This is not the 
place to attempt any defence of this position; I 
shall assume that it is possible and in fact occa- 
sionally an actuality, afid so shall proceed to the 
interesting question thal!^lj|mi^t be raised at this 
point; viz,. How are we to explain such facts? 
If it be possible to see into the future in this man- 
ner, why not make a fortune over night in stocks? 
In any case, what are the processes involved, what 
laws are put into operation? 


I shall not enter into the question of why it is 
that persons possessing this peculiar power do not 
make use of it to make a fortune over night, as 
suggested, for the reason that those who advance 
this suggestion do not know what they are talking 
about, or in any way understand the problem. 
Visions of this kind, apparently seeing into the 
future, are not to be summoned at will, but occur 
— when they occur at all — spontaneously^ and 
not in accord with any special laws or rules with 
which we are familiar. They merely crop up 
spontaneously, and cannot be summoned at will. 
As M. Flammarion insisted, there are two 
methods of investigation in all scientific problems: 
that of observation and that of experiment. Al- 
most all psychic problems have to be investigated 
by the former of these two methods; we have to 
observe them as we may, and we cannot control 
them at will. Such being the case, we can very 
easily see why it is that persons cannot make for- 
tunes by the aid of their foresight; such things 
do not act in any such concise and systematic man- 
ner at all, and may occur but once in the individ- 
ual's life, if then. 

But when we come to the question of how such 
things can be — the modtbs operandi involved — 
that is a legitimate, but a most difficult question to 
answer. At once the question rises in the mind: 


Can it be possible that the veil of the future can 
really be torn, so that it actually becomes the pres- 
ent and the real to the onlooker? How can such 
things be? Or is there not rather some illusion, 
which, if discovered, would reveal to us the simple 
explanation of all such facts, and explain them in 
a perfectly intelligible and natural manner? 

If there were but a few facts of this character in 
existence, to weigh against all human experience, 
that would be, doubtless, the most rational ground 
to take ; but when we find hundreds of facts of this 
character — all detailed and apparently recorded 
with care — it is more difficult to dismiss them in 
that simimary manner, and in fact one finds one- 
self gradually becoming more and more convinced 
that some such process is in actual existence, when 
we come to weigh and measure the evidence in its 
favour. But if the fact can once be established, 
if one single fact can be shown to be due to some 
Cause other than chance, what a recasting of our 
views, what a remoulding of science would be neces- 
sary in order to fit it into our present scheme of the 
universe ! 

Now let us see, for the moment, if some conceiv- 
able explanation of such facts might not be possi- 
ble. Granting, for the sake of argument, that 
genuine premonitions sometimes occur, how are we 
to account for them? The fact of seeing into the 


future is such an apparent impossibility that any 
explanation of the facts would seem at first sight 
utterly hopeless; and yet such might not be the 
case. Let us see how far certain legitimate spec- 
ulations might carry us in this explanatory theory. 
First of all, it must be pointed out that there is 
some amount of foresight or ^ premonition * in our 
ordinary normal life; we are enabled to foresee 
certain events that are about to happen; that, for 
example, the lamp is about to fall, or that our pet 
dog is about to die. Here it is clear that we see 
further than the object or the animal, though (in 
the latter case) he is himself the personality in- 
volved. Again, we can frequently foresee how cer- 
tain lines of action would bring certain definite re- 
sults, and we can frequently tell, almost exactly, 
how any event is going to terminate. If we see 
two men engaging in a wordy war, we feel assured 
that they will ultimately end up with blows ; if we 
see a man walking down the street, we know that he 
will eventually reach the street comer, and if we 
know (what he does not) that there is a powerful 
wind blowing down the street, we can predict with 
some degree of certainty that his hat will be blown 
ofi^ as soon as he arrives at that comer and the wind 
strikes him. Or again, to use an old example, if 
we see a spider walking across the table, we can pre- 
dict with a fair degree of certainty that when the 


spider reaches the edge of the table he will fall off. 
Yet the spider is quite unaware of any such danger 
awaiting him. In all the above examples, it will 
be seen that greater knowledge of the surround- 
ings or environment, mental or physical, of the 
recipient of the disaster enables the onlooker to 
foresee the impending danger, and, if he chooses, 
to save such recipient from it. A larger mentd 
grasp of circumstances and a clear view of tenders 
exes will frequently enable one to foresee what is 
quite invisible to another. And might we not 
suggest that, by analogy, some of our friends in 
a spiritual world, seeing the tendencies of certain 
of our actions more clearly than we, would warn 
us, by dream or telepathic action, and so reveal to 
us what we should never otherwise perceive? Hav- 
ing a clearer and larger grasp of our environment 
than we, would it not be quite possible for them to 
foresee, and so to warn us of impending dangers in 
this manner? 

Again, there is another whole set of phenomena 
of this character which might be explained on other 
lines altogether. A physician can foresee cer- 
tain tendencies in himself and in others which 
would be invisible to the average man, who has not 
been trained in these special lines. He can fore- 
tell what will happen far in advance of the actual 
event, — what is likely to happen to any individual, 


— and 80, in the broader sense, this might be 
termed * premonitory •' In like manner, it is prob- 
able that our own subconscious mind can foresee 
bodily states far more readily than can our ordinary 
wake-a-day consciousness, and so apprise us in 
advance of oncoming disastrous symptoms. This 
knowledge might be dramatised and symbolised in 
a dream; so again, the appearance might be sug- 
gestive of the supernormal, though, it will be seen, 
it is not strictly so. Foretelling deaths, etc., may 
be due to this cause. But at all events it will be 
apparent that none of the explanations so far ad- 
vanced will explain the detailed incident — such 
as that recorded above — in which the woodcock 
was shot, as foreseen. How are we to account for 
such a case as that? 

Let it be admitted that we cannot explain it at 
all, in the present state of our knowledge. We 
can but guess at the modus operandi involved, and 
doubtless very ineflfectually. It is not to be be- 
lieved that spirits (granting that they exist, and 
that they can foresee tendencies and coming events 
with greater foresight than do we, because of their 
clearer and more extended outlook, so to speak) 
still, it is not to be believed that they can really 
foresee all the details of any coming event, as that 
would be tantamount to saying that the event it- 
self was planned out in advance and merely enacted 


at the proper moment — a form of fatalism. We 
might conceive this, of course, but it would not be 
proof. In lieu of any better theory, however, let 
us pursue this line of thought for the moment, and 
see whither we are led. I quote from a previous 
article of mine on *' Omar Khayyam and Psychical 
Research." ^ In part it runs as follows : 


^S • • That Omar was a fatalist goes with- 
out saying, the idea of extreme fatalism running 
throughout his verse and rendering it at times 
almost despairing in tone, at others rendering it 
indignant or scornful. Fatalism is a different 
thing from the modem philosophical doctrine of 
determinism, though both are opposed to free- 
will. We have, apparently, of course, free choice 
in all our actions; that is, we are enabled to do 
what we want to do ; but determinism says that we 
are not enabled to do anything of the kind. The 
fact that we can apparently do so is mere illusion, 
and that our action is in every case determined by 
our previous actions, environment, mode of life and 
external and internal influences and causes; so 
that, when any action is performed, it is the result 
of these influences and their necessary result ; i, f ., 
we are never enabled to choose freely, or perform 
any action that is other than the direct and in- 

1 Journal of the A. S. P. R., July, 1907. 


evitable result of previous actions^ thoughts and 
environment. If we could get a large enough 
mental perception and grasp, as it were, of such 
forces acting upon ourselves, we could see how it 
is that in all cases our action is necessitated, and 
not the result of deliberate choice or free will, 
though the illusion of free will would always be 
present. This differs from fatalism, as I under- 
stand it, in that it does not necessitate the planning 
or intervention of any external mind or Deity other 
than the mental and physical forces of the universe ; 
while fatalism supposes an external mind which has 
planned everything from the beginning, and each 
action and event as it occurs is consequently in- 
evitable and has been planned from the very crea- 
tion of things. Doubtless such thoughts prompted 
Omar to write Verse 73: 

" * With Earth's first Qay They did the Last Man 

!And there of the Last Harvest sow'd the Seed: 

And the first Morning of Creation wrote 
What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read.' 

" This idea that the universe is planned out, as 
it were, in advance is somewhat different from the 
doctrine which maintains that everything has, in 
a sense, actually happened, — we merely perceiv- 


ing such actions as we reach certain states or stages 
in our journey through life; that is, all future 
events are actually existent at present, but the rea- 
son that we do not perceive them is that we have 
not yet arrived at the point of view that enables 
us to perceive them, — nor will we until the appro- 
priate time has arrived. Perhaps we may be en- 
abled to grasp this idea a little more fully when 
we consider the following simple analogy. Let us 
suppose ourselves on the hind platform of the rear 
car of a train which is travelling at a more or less 
rapid rate of speed. As the train moves, we per- 
ceive, at either side of us, altered scenery, and the 
country seems suddenly to be changed, — new scenes 
coming into view and others vanishing. But it will 
be seen that in this case the landscape newly per- 
ceived is not actually created; it does not come into 
being at the moment we perceived it ; it has always 
existed, and the reason why it has not existed for us 
before is that we have not been in a position to per- 
ceive it until that moment ; and when the landscape 
recedes in the distance, it is not annihilated, but 
remains unaltered; but for us it has vanished — 
for the reason that we are no longer in a position to 
perceive it. Thus it is that events may perhaps 
exist in some real or " noumenal '* world which are 
only perceived by us, as phenomena, at certain 
definite stages or times for their perception." 


Such a conception of the universe would at least 
enable us to understand much and make clear to 
us the apparent facts of so-called premonition. 
There is something awesome and stupendous in this 
conception of the cosmos, and perhaps I cannot 
do better, by way of illustration of this, than to 
quote a page from Mr. Mitchell's charming little 
story, Amos Judd^ where he vividly portrays for 
us the all-pervading intelligence and the omnipo- 
tence of the moral force that rules the universe, 
and man's impotence when opposed to it. Under 
the mask of fiction, we find one of the most striking 
conceptions of fatalism known to me. Amos, the 
hero of the story, being gifted with the unwelcome 
capacity of seeing into the future, had predicted 
that Mr. Cabot was to perform certain acts the 
next day at a certain time. Just at the time speci- 
fied, Mr. Cabot found himself doing (quite natur- 
ally, apparently) those very acts! This calls 
forth conscious-resistance on his part, — the result 
being a dramatic picture of a one-sided duel be- 
tween the mind of man and that of some all-per- 
vading fate. But I leave the author to tell his own 

** . . . Mr. Cabot, as he strode rapidly to- 
ward the village, experienced an elasticity and ex- 
hilaration that recalled his younger days. He felt 


more like dancing or climbing trees than plodding 
sedately along a turnpike. With a quick, youthful 
step he ascended the gentle incline that led to the 
Common, and if a stranger had been called u])on to 
guess at the gentleman's age as he walked jauntily 
into the village with head erect, swinging his cane, 
he would more likely have said thirty years than 
sixty. And if the stranger had watched him for 
another three minutes he would have modified his 
guess, and not only have given him credit for his 
full age, but might have suspected either an ex- 
cessive fatigue or a mild intemperance. For Mr. 
Cabot, during his short walk through Daleford 
Village, experienced a series of sensations so novel 
and so crushing that he never, in his inner self, re- 
covered completely from the shock. 

" Instead of keeping along the sidewalk to the 
right and going to the post-office according to his 
custom, he crossed the muddy road and took the 
gravel walk that skirted the Common. It seemed 
a natural course, and he failed to realise, until he 
had done it, that he was going out of his way. 
Now he must cross the road again when opposite 
the store. When opposite the store, however, in- 
stead of crossing over, he kept along as he had 
started. Then he stopped, as if to turn, — but his 
hesitation was for a second only. Again he went 
ahead, along the same path, by the side of the 


Common. It was then that Mr. Cabot felt a mild 
but unpleasant thrill creep upward along his spine 
and through his hair. This was caused by a start- 
ling suspicion that his movements were not in obedi- 
ence to his own will. A moment later it became a 
conviction. Tlie consciousness brought the cold 
sweat to his brow, but he was too strong a man, too 
clear headed and determined, to lose his bearings 
without a struggle or without a definite reason. 
With all the force of his nature he stopped once 
more to decide it, then and there: and again he 
started forward. An indefinable, all-pervading 
force, gentle but immeasurably stronger than him- 
self, was exerting an intangible pressure, and never 
in his recollection had he felt so powerless, so weak, 
so completely at the mercy of something that was no 
part of himself; yet, while amazed and impressed 
beyond his own belief, he suffered no obsciuity of 
intellect. The first surprise over, he was more puz- 
zled than terrified, more irritated than resigned. 

** For nearly a hundred yards he walked on, im- 
pelled by he knew not what; then, with deliberate 
resolution, he stopped, clutched the wooden railing 
at his side, and held it with an iron grip. As he 
did so, the clock in the belfry of the Unitarian 
Church across the road began striking twelve. He 
raised his eyes and, recalling the prophecy of Amos, 
he bit his lip, and his head reeled as in a dream. 


' To-morrow, as the clock strikes twelve, yon wiH 
be standing in front of the Unitarian Church, 
looking up at it.' Each stroke of the bell — and 
no bell ever sounded bo loud — vibrated through 
every nerve of his being. It was harsh, exultant, 
alinost threatening, and his brain in a numb, dull 
way seemed to quiver beneath the blows. Yet, up 
there, about the white belfry, pigeons strutted 
along the moulding, cooing, quarrelsome, and im- 
portant, like any other pigeons. And the sunlight 
was even brighter than usual; the sky bluer and 
more dazzling. The tall spire, from the moving 
clouds behind It, seemed like a huge ship, sailing 
forward and upward as if he and it were floating 
to a different world. 

" Still holding fast to the fence, he drew the other 
hand sharply across his eyes to rally his wavering 
senses. The big elms towered serenely above him, 
their leaves rustling like a countless chorus in the 
summer breeze. Opposite, the row of old-fash- 
ioned New England houses stood calmly in their 
places, self-possessed, with no sign of agitation. 
The world, to their knowledge, had undergone no 
sudden changes within the last five minutes. It 
must have been a delusion : a little collapse of the 
nerves, perhaps. So many things can alFect the 
brain: any doctor could easily explain it! He 
would rest a minute, then return. 


'^ As he made this resolve, his left hand, like a 
treacherous servant, quietly relaxed its hold and he 
started off, not toward his home, but forward, — • 
continuing his journey. He now realised that the 
force which impelled him, although gentle and 
seemingly not hostile in purpose, was so much 
stronger than himself that resistance was useless. 
During the next three minutes, as he walked me- 
chanically along the sidewalk by the Common, his 
brain was nervously active in an effort to arrive at 
some solution of this erratic business ; some sensible 
solution that was based either on science or on com- 
roon-sense. But that solace was denied him. The 
more he thought the less he knew. No previous 
experience of his own, and no authenticated expe- 
rience of anyone else, at least of which he had ever 
heard, could he summon to assist him. When op- 
posite the house of Silas Famam, he turned and 
left the sidewalk, and noticed with an irresponsible 
interest as he crossed the road that with no care of 
his own he avoided the puddles and selected for liis 
feet the drier places. This was another surprise, 
for he took no thought of his steps; and the dis- 
covery added to the overwhelming sense of helpless- 
ness that was taking possession of him. With no 
volition of his own he also avoided the wet grass be- 
tween the road and the gravel walk. He next 
found himself in front of Silas Famam's gate and 


his hand reached forth to open it. It was another 
mild surprise when his hand, like a conscious thing, 
tried the wrong side of the Uttle gate, then felt 
about for the latch. The legs, over which he had 
ceased to have direction, carried him along the 
narrow brick walk, and one of them lifted him upon 
the granite doorstejp. 

*^ Once more he resolved, calmly and with a se- 
rious determination, that this humiliating comedy 
should go no further. He would turn about and 
go home without entering the house. It would be 
Well for Amos to know that an old lawyer of sixty 
was composed of different material from the impres- 
sionable enthusiast of twenty-seven. While making 
this resolve the soles of his shoes were drawing 
themselves across the iron scraper; then he saw 
his hand rise slowly toward the old-fashioned 
knocker and, with three taps, announce his pres- 
ence. A huge fly dozing on the knocker flew off 
and lit again upon the panel of the door. As it 
adjusted its wings and drew a pair of front legs 
over the front of its head Mr. Cabot wondered if, 
at the creatioli of the world, it was foreordained 
that this insect should occupy that identical spot 
at a specified moment of a certain day, and execute 
this trivial performance. If so, what a role human- 
ity was playing! The door opened and Mrs. 
Famam, with a smiling face, stood before him. 


" * How do you do, Mr. Cabot? Won't you step 

^^ As he opened his lips to decline, he entered the 
little hallway, was shown into the parlour, and sat 
in a horse-hair rocking chair, in which he waited for 
Mrs. Famam to call her husband. When the hus- 
band came, Mr. Cabot stated his business and found 
that he was once more dependent upon his own voli- 
tion. He could rise, walk to the window, say what 
he wished, and sit down again when he desired. 


So, for him, ended the most remarkable expe- 
rience of his life. 

Before such an all-pervading, all-powerful voli- 
tion as this we pause, awestruck. Is it conceiv- 
able that this universe is planned out and pre- 
arranged in any such manner? It seems hardly 
credible; and yet, how otherwise are we to account 
for those obstinate facts that keep coming before 
our attention, demanding an explanation, no mat- 
ter what views we may care to hold of the uni- 
verse, or their possibility? Premonitions are the 
most baffling of all psychic phenomena, and, if ever 
established scientifically and accepted as actual 
facts, they will necessitate more recasting of old 
theories and conceptions than any other character 
of phenomena whatever. In conclusion I can only 
repeat a wise saying, which is not without its sense 


of humour and which might be fitly quoted in this 
place. Two philosophers were arguing about the 
possibility of a certain fact — one from experimen- 
tal evidence, the other from d priori conceptions. 
The latter had wound up his argument with a very 
self -satisfying proof. ** So you see it's an utter 
hnpoBnbUitjf, don't you?** To which his friend 
wisely replied: ^ My dear sir, I never said it was 
poisible, I said it was a fact! " Might we not ap- 
ply this to premonitions? 




FOR the benefit of those of my readers who may 
not have read many books upon psychic sub- 
jects I may state that Eusapia Paladino is the name 
of a woman, living in Naples, Italy, who is, it is 
claimed, a most remarkable ^* physical medium ;" 
i.e.9 that there occur in her presence movements of 
objects without contact, tips of, and raps upon, 
tables, playing of musical instruments without any 
human hands, and a number of other manifesta- 
tions, still more remarkable, which I shall outline in 
brief immediately. I have, until now, withheld 
from mentioning the physical phenomena, for the 
reai(on that they are so much more open to doubt 
and suspicion than are the mental or psychical phe- 
nomena proper, — which are far more numerous and 
more easily proved than are the physical facts. So 
many mediums have been detected in fraud, in the 
production of physic£d phenomena, that, whenever 
they occur, there is immediately a suspicion, in the 
minds of most persons, that fraud was in some 
manner connected with the production of the phe- 
nomena ; and this applies also to the medium under 



discussion. It is well known to all the scientists 
and other persons who investigate £usapia that 
she will deceive whenever she can do so; and that 
unless fraud has been rendered impossible, she will 
invariably produce the phenomena by fraudulent 
means. If the statements of those scientists who 
have carefully investigated this medium are to be 
impUdtly relied upon, there are very good reasons 
why Eusapia should resort to fraud whenever she 
can. It is asserted that whenever phencHnena of the 
kind under discussi<m are produced in a genuine 
manner, the medium is left more or less exhausted; 
there is a certain nervous ^ tiredness/ which follows 
upon the production of phenomena of this sort. It 
is only natural to suppose that, if the medium could 
obtain the same results by fraudulent means, she 
would do so, and thus save herself the consequent 
fatigue. This, it is asserted, is the chief reason 
why Eusapia (and kindred mediums) resort to 
cheating, and, whether true or not, the explanation 
is at least conceivable. 

Let us now turn to a consideration of the phe- 
nomena themselves, that are alleged to occur in the 
presence of this mediunu I shall quote from the 
various reports concerning her mediumship 
that have been brought in, reserving any re- 
marks or discussion of the results until after- 
wards. I quote a typical Report, taken from 


M. Flammarion's fascinating book, Mysterious 
Psychic Forces, where, after describing several re- 
markable manifestations, he goes on to say : * 

"A round centre table, placed at my right, 
comes forward without contact towards the table, 
always in full light, be it understood, as if it would 
like to climb up on it, and falls down. Nobody 
has moved aside or approached the curtain, and no 
explanation of this movement can be given. The 
medium has not yet entered into a trance and con- 
tinues to take part in the conversation. 

^* Five raps in the table indicate, according to a 
convention arranged by the medium, that the un- 
known cause asks for less light. This is always an- 
noying. • • • The candles are blown out, the lamp 
turned down, but the light is strong enough for us 
to see very distinctly everj^thing that takes place in 
the room. The round table, which I had lifted and 
set aside, approaches the table and several times 
tries to climb up on it. I lean upon it in order to 
keep it down, but I experience an elastic resistance 
and am unable to do so. The free edge of the 
round table places itself on the edge of the rec- 
tangular table, but, hindered by its triangular foot, 
it does not succeed in clearing itself sufficiently to 
climb upon it. Since I am holding the medium, 
I ascertain that she makes no effort of the kind that 


would be needed for this style of performance. 

** The curtain swells out and approaches my 
face. It is at this moment that the medium falls 
into a trance. She utters sighs and lamentations 
and only speaks now in the third i>erson, saying 
that she is John King. • • • Five new raps 
ask for still less Ught, and the lamp is ahnost com- 
pletely turned down, but not extinguished. The 
ey^» growing accustomed to the clare-obscure, still 
distinguish pretty well what is taking place. 

^ The curtain sweUs out again, and I feel that 
I am touched on the shoulder, through the stuff of 
the curtain, as if by a closed fist. The chair in 
the cabinet, upon which are placed the music-box 
and the bell, is violently shaken, and the objects 
fall to the floor. The medium asks again for less 
llghty and a red photographic lantern is placed 
upon the piano, and the light of the lamp com- 
pletely extinguished. The control is rigorously 
kept up, the medium agreeing to it with the great- 
est docility. 

" For about a minute the music-box plays inter- 
mittent airs behind the curtain, as if it were turned 
by some hand. The curtain moves forward again 
toward me, and a rather strong hand seizes my 
arm. I immediately reach forward to seize the 
hand, but I grasp only the empty air. I then 
press the two legs of the medium between mine and 


I take her left hand in my right. On the other 
side, her right hand is firmly held in the left hand 
of M. de Fontenay. Then Eusapia brings the 
hand of the last named toward my cheek and imi- 
tates upon the cheek, with the finger of M. de 
Fontenay, the movement of a little revolving crank 
or handle. The music-box, which has one of these 
handles, plays at the same time behind the curtain 
in perfect synchronism. The instant that Eusa- 
pia's hand stops, the music stops: all the move- 
ments correspond, just as in the Morse telegraph 
system. We all amused ourselves with this. The 
thing was tried several times in succession, and 
every time the playing of the finger tallied with the 
playing of the music. 

** I feel several touches on the back and on the 
side. M. de Fontenay receives a hard slap on the 
back that everybody hears. A hand passes 
through my hair. The chair of M. de Fontenay is 
violently pulled, and a few moments afterwards he 
cries, ^ I see the silhouette of a man passing be- 
tween M. Flammarion and me, above the table, 
shutting out the red light ! * 

" This thing is repeated several times. I do 
not myself succeed in seeing the silhouette. I then 
propose to M. de Fontenay that I take his place, 
for in that case, I should be likely to see it also. 
I soon distinctly perceive a dim silhouette passing 


before the red lantern, but do not recognise any' 
precise form. It is only an opaque shadow (the 
profile of a man) which advances as far as the 
light and retires. In a moment, Eusapia says 
there is someone behind the curtain. After a 
slight pause she adds : ^ There is a man by your 
side, on the right; he has a great soft, forked 
beard.' I ask if I may touch this beard. In fact, 
while lifting my hand, I feel rather a soft beard 
brushing against it. . . . 

^* The little round table, placed outside the cabi- 
net, at the left of the medium, approaches the table, 
climbs clear up on it and lies across it. The 
guitar in the cabinet is heard moving about and 
giving out sounds. The curtain is puffed out, and 
the guitar is brought upon the table, resting upon 
the shoulder of M. de Fontenay. It is then laid 
upon the table, the large end towards the medium. 
Then it rises and moves over the heads of the com- 
pany without touching them. It gives forth sev- 
eral sounds. The phenomenon lasts about fifteen 
seconds. It can readily be seen that the guitar is 
floating in the air, and the reflection of the red 
lamp glides over its shining surface. A rather 
bright gleam, pear-shaped, is seen on the ceiling 
in the other corner of the room. . . . John is 
spoken to as if he existed, as if it was he whose 
head we perceived in silhouette ; he is asked to con- 


tinue his manifestations and to show the impression 
of his head in the putty, as he has already severa] 
times done. Eusapia replies that it is a difficult 
thing and asks us not to think of it for a moment, 
but to go on speaking. These suggestions of hers 
are always disquieting, and we redouble our atten- 
tion, though without speaking much. The medium 
groans, pants, writhes. The chair in the cabinet 
on which the putty is placed is heard to move. 
The chair comes forward and places itself by the 
side of the mediimi, then it is lifted and placed 
upon the head of Mme. Z. Blech, while the tray is 
lightly placed in the hands of M. Blech, at the 
other end of the table. Eusapia cries that she sees 
before her a head and bust, and says, " E fatto " 
("It is done'*). We do not believe her, because 
M. Blech has not felt any pressure on the dish. 
Three violent blows as of a mallet are struck upon 
the table. The light is turned on, and a human 
profile is found imprinted upon the putty. 

" Mme. Z. Blech kisses Eusapia upon both 
cheeks, for the purpose of finding out whether her 
face has not some odour (glazier's putty having a 
very strong odour of linseed oil which remains for 
some time upon the fingers). She discovers noth- 
ing abnormal." ^ 

There are many cases, as interesting as this one, 

iPp. 70-75. 




running through the book. I have merely picked 
out a typical seance, in which s tnimber of repre- 
■entative phenomena are said to have occurred. 
Upon other occasions, these casts were obtained 
in the putty, placed in the cabinet, the medium sit- 
ting in the circle, and holding or held bj members 
of the circle in such a way as to render escape 
(apparently) impossible; on other occasions, musi- 
cal instruments have been seen to float about the 
room, playing of their own accord, and, when a 
light was struck, the instrument was seen to be in 
a position in midair, as, for instance, in the fol- 
lowing case: 

" The light was extinguished and the experi- 
menta begun again. While, in response to a unani- 
mous wish, the little bell was beginning again its 
tinklings and its mysterious aerial circuits, M. 
Ascensi, taking his cue, unknown to us, frtHn M. 
Tamburini, went (unperceived, owing to the dark- 
ness) and stood on the right of the medium, and 
at once with a single scratch lighted a match, eo 
successfully, as he declared, that he could see the 
little bell, while it was vibrating in the air, sud- 
denly fall upon a bed, about six feet and a half 
behind Mme. Faladino.*' 

It would be unnecessary to repeat stances and de- 


tails of such phenomena in this place, where space 
is limited. Suffice it to say that phenomena of 
this character have been taking place in the pres- 
ence of Eusapia for a number of years past, and 
she has now succeeded in convincing a very large 
number of French and Italian, and some of the 
finest English, scientists of the fact that the phe- 
nomena are genuine, and are not the result of any 
known process or known law. Apparently, Eu- 
sapia is a second Home, whose advent has been so 
long awaited, and this time she is being thoroughly 
studied by some of the first scientific men of the 
time, and not left to the care of one scientist, as 
Home was practically left to Sir William Crookes. 
In many of these stances, the light has been suffi- 
ciently good to see the medium at the time that the 
manifestations were actually in progress, and she 
has been tied and held in such a manner as to ab- 
solutely prevent any 'possibility of fraud. Of 
course upon this question of possible fraud hangs 
the whole case. I cannot attempt, in this place, 
to refute that theory; indeed, we know that Eu- 
sapia will cheat whenever she can, as already saicf. 
But I quote a passage ^ which seems to challenge 
explanation by any theory of fraud, and is one of 
the most interesting documents that I have ever 
come across, whatever theory we may choose to 

1 Annali of Piyehieal Sei§ne0, May, 1907. 


hold by way of explanation of the phenomena. 
At the stance in question, which took place in the 
psychological laboratory of one of the three seep-, 
tical doctors who were holding the stance (also 
the medium), the following took place: 

^^ After table No. 1 had stood upright, Dr. 
AruUani approached it, but the piece of furniture, 
moving violently towards him, repulsed him; Dr. 
A. seized the table, which was heard to crack in 
the struggle. It was a strong table of white wood, 
about 2 ft. 9 in. high, and 8 ft. long by ftft in. 
broad, weighing 17 lbs. 

^^ Dr. A. asked that the hand behind the curtain 
should grasp his; the mediimi replied in her own 
voice, ^ First I am going to break the table, then I 
will give you a grasp of the hand.* This declara- 
tion was followed by three fresh, complete levita- 
tions of the table, which fell back each time heavily 
onto the floor. All those who were on the left of 
the medium could observe, by a very good red 
light, the various movements of the table. The 
latter bent down and passed behind the curtain, 
followed by one of us (Dr. C. Foa), who saw it 
turn over and rest on one of its two short sides, 
whilst one of the legs of the table came off vio- 
lently, as if under the action of some force pressing 
upon it. At this moment the table came violently 


out of the cabinet and continued to break up under 
the eyes of everyone present; at first its different 
parts were torn off, then the boards themselves went 
to pieces. Two legs which still remained united by 
a thin slip of wood floated above us and placed 
themselves on the stance table." 

It would seem almost impossible to explain such a 
case by fraud, and would seem to establish the 
genuineness of the phenomena, however incredible 
they may appear. Assuming, for the sake of 
argument, that these phenomena are really facts, 
that they actually happened, as stated, how are we 
to account for themP 

When we come to explanatory hypotheses, there 
have been a number brought forward to explain 
the facts, and it must be said at once, not very 

There is first of all the theory that the nervous 
fluid or forces of the medivun are in some manner 
externalised beyond the periphery of the body, 
and, operating in space, produce the results men- 
tioned. As M. Flammarion expressed it : " The 
vital force of the medivun might externalise itself 
and produce in a point of space a vibratory system 
which should be the counterpart of itself, in a more 
or less advanced degree of visibility and solidity.'? 
A number of the minor facts could be accounted for 


in this manner, such as the mere movements of 
objects without contact, and would seem to be 
strongly borne out by certain facts — e, g., the 
current of cold air ( P) that is felt to proceed from 
the scar on the medium's temple when the phe- 
nomena are in full swing; and this would also 
seem to tell strongly against fraud. (Of course 
there is the possibility of hallucination to be 
reckoned with, in a case of this character, but in 
view of the facts, I do not think it need be seriously 
considered.) In a word, then, this theory of the 
extemalisation of nervous fluid or force has much 
to recommend it; and there are many phenomena 
in physical science (radiation, etc.) with which to 
compare it ; but there seem to me to be very many 
facts that such a theory would not account for at 
all. Take the cases of playing upon musical in- 
struments, for instance: this implies intelligent 
action, and fingers to manipulate the keys, in the 
majority of cases ; how is any " external force '* to 
account for these facts ? It seems to me that, while 
this theory has its uses, and may be the correct one 
to account for many of the phenomena, it cannot 
be the true explanation of all the facts, as we 
shall see more fully later on. 

There has been another theory advanced, which 
is far more daring than that just proposed. It is 
that there is a sort of " fluidic prolongation of the 


limbs " — the real hands and arms and legs, e. g*., 
being in some manner duplicated in the ^^ astral " 
or fluidic or shell form and extended beyond the 
limits of the medium's body. " This prolongation 
is real," says M. Flammarion, ^^ and only extends 
to a certain distance from the medium, — a distance 
which can be measured, and which varies according 
to circumstances. . . . We are forced to ad- 
mit that this prolongation, usually invisible and 
impalpable, may become visible and palpable — 
take, especially, the form of an articulated hand, 
with flesh and muscles, and reveal the exact form of 
a head or a body." 

It will be seen that such a theory is closely allied 
to the facts of materialisation; and, if we could 
accept such facts and the conclusions to which they 
legitimately lead, we should have no difficulty what- 
ever in accepting the phenomena of materialisa- 
tion. But it is also closely allied to the astral- 
form theory of the theosophists, and it is hard to 
tell which of these would be correct, were it not for 
the fact that the forms that appear, while they are 
often duplicates of the mediimi, in one or more 
ways, are also entirely different forms, upon occa- 
sion — being the forms of men, e, g.^ with large 
hands and a beard, etc. It is difficult to see how 
any astral-body theory could account for these 
facts — unless, indeed, we are prepared to admit 


the possibility of astrals of discamate spirits ; and 
if that is done, how are we to distinguish than, 
evidentially or in any other way, from materialisa- 

It will thus be seen that we have been led to the 
spiritistic hypothesis almost without knowing it, 
as an explanation of the facts under consideration; 
and in many ways it is by far the most intelligible 
explanation, and explains a far larger number of 
the facts than does any other theory. On the 
other hand, there are many objections to such an 
hypothesis — the most formidable of which is the 
fact that it assumes a ^ soul ' capable of function- 
ing — ' which is the very fact psychical researchers 
are attempting to prove, and so begs the question. 
If a soul were proved to exist, apart from such 
phenomena as those under discussion, then we 
should be entitled to speculate upon its potentiali- 
ties and possible powers ; but we can hardly prove a 
soul by such physical phenomena as those we have 
been discussing. The fact of the soul's survival 
must first of all be established by other facts than 
these; and then, that once established, we should 
be in a position to argue as to its possible powers 
and limitations. Personally, I think that it is 
premature to speculate on the origin and nature of 
such phenomena as those presented by Eusapia 
Paladino. The fact^ are not yet sufficiently well 


established to warrant any speculations of the 
kind, though one can well see how it would be a 
temptation to offer such speculations when one has 
been thoroughly convinced of the nature and gen- 
uineness of the phenomena. There is always a 
temptation to try and explain facts that are new, 
to dovetail them into our present knowledge; and 
in a sense that is perfectly right and legitimate. 
It is only that the phenomena, in this case, are 
so remarkable, so take on^'s breath away, that 
one is inclined to cry " Halt " before any explana- 
tions are offered of facts which, in themselves, seem 
incredible beyond belief. 

I shall end this discussion of the case by a quota- 
tion from one of Sir Oliver Lodge's addresses be- 
fore the Society for Psychical Research, in Lon- 
don, when these phenomena first came to the atten- 
tion of that Society and Dr. Lodge brought in 
his report on the case. True or not, these specu- 
lations seem to me to be highly interesting and sug- 
gestive, and well worthy of being preserved. In 
part they run as follows : 

" The fact . . . that the medium's body 
undergoes sympathetic or corresponding move- 
ments or twitches is very instructive and interesting. 
Sometimes, when she [the medium] is going to 
push a distant object, she will make a little sudden 


push with her hand m this direction, and imme- 
diately afterward the object moves. Once this was 
done for my edification with constantly the same 
object, viz.9 a bureau in the comer of the room. 
. . • When six or seven feet away the time- 
interval (between the push and the movement 
of the object) was something like two seconds. 
When the accordion is being played, the fingers of 
the mediimi are moving in a thoroughly appro- 
priate manner, and the process reminds one of the 
twiching of a dog's legs when he is supposed to be 
dreaming that he is chasing a hare. It is as if 
Eusapia were dreaming that she was fingering the 
instrument, and dreaming it so vividly that the 
instrument was actually played. It is as if a dog 
dreamt of the chase with such energy that a distant 
hare was readily captured and killed, as by a 
phantom dog; and, fanciful as for the moment it 
may seem, and valueless as I suppose such specula- 
tions are, I am, I confess, at present more than half 
disposed to look in some such direction for a clue 
to these effects. In an idealistic conception of na- 
ture it has by many philosophers been considered 
that thought is the reality, and that material sub- 
stratum is but a consequence of thought. So, in 
a minor degree, it appears here; it is a^ if, let us 
^ay, the dream of the entranced person were vivid 
enough physically to effect surrounding objects 


and actually produce objective results; to cause 
not only real and permanent movements of ordinary 
objects, but also temporary fresh aggregations of 
material particles into extraordinary objects — 
these aggregations being objective enough to be 
felt, heard, seen, and probably even photographed 
while they last.'' 

I think the reader will agree with me in feeling 
that these remarks open before us a world of pos- 
sibilities, and incline us to the belief that we are 
^^ but shadows " after all, as Omar said, and that 
behind and beyond this world of matter there is 
another world of causes and forces, of which we are 
just beginning to see and realise the effects, and 
consequently which we are only just beginning to 
investigate. It is the world of noumena^ of causes, 
that modem science must begin to investigate in 
this new centiury, just as the science of the last 
century devoted its energies to the world of phe- 
nomena or effects. When this has been realised 
and the energies and ingenuity of scientific men 
are turned in this direction, then we may begin to 
look for progress indeed; for development along 
lines hitherto all but neglected; for a wider and 
deeper and broader view of the universe. And it is 
this research into the world of causes which is, 
largely, the legitimate problem of psychical 


Beard) ; it opens before us a new vista of latent pos- 
sibilities and shows us that here is, waiting to be 
dereloped, indeed a new science ; the science of the 
coming century — the Coining Science. 



1HAVE attempted, in the preceding pages, to 
give a very rapid survey of the field of psy- 
chic research and of the chief theories that might 
be advanced by way of explanation of the facts« 
As before stated, I have not attempted to cite any 
large number of cases or make any great showing 
of proof, for the reason that that field has been 
covered in many volumes on this subject: I have 
devoted myself rather to possible explanations of 
facts which must, some day, be recognised as a 
part of legitimate science. Once the facts are 
accepted, their explanation becomes of prime im- 
portance; and it will not be any disadvantage to 
the average person to be in possession of those 
ideas and theories that have been advanced, from 
time to time, by way of explanation of these facts. 
There is no more fascinating field than this — 
the borderland of the Unknown ; the dim, obscure 
region that lies between mind and matter, between 
physical and spiritual forces and energies, between 
the noumenal and the phenomenal worlds. The 
phenomena presented for our consideratioii are 
themselves the most fascinating and the most vital 



that can ever be discussed; while the immense si^ 
nificance of their interpretation must be apparent 
to those who think and reflect at all. Whether the 
universe is at basis material or spiritual is the 
greatest question that can ever be raised; it lies 
at the root of all moral law, no less than philoso- 
phy and science (in the generally accepted sense 
of the word), and is the most important question 
before the world today, without a doubt. Upon 
such facts as these must rest all future religion; 
for, apart from the facts of psychic research, what 
evidence have we that the soul exists after the 
death of the body at all? I have elsewhere pointed 
out that we have no such evidence ; so that upon the 
outcome of this investigation may be said to hang 
the whole future spiritual evolution of the race. 
Materialism must ultimately triumph, if no facts 
can be brought forward to prove it erroneous ; and 
that would mean the sacrifice and the abolition of 
the religious consciousness of the age. The 
societies for psychical research have long realised 
this point and insisted upon the immense impor- 
tance and significance of the work in hand — a 
work that should be endowed a thousand times more 
lavishly than any of the churches, since it is 
(or soon will be) the only means and the sole 
weapon with which successfully to combat matorial- 
ism. The issue once fairly raised, and the great 


world-problems once grasped by the average man, 
this will become apparent, and then, it is to be 
hoped, the much needed and shamefully neglected 
support will be forthcoming. 

I repeat : let one single fact which the psychical 
researcher defends be proved true and the funda- 
mental conceptions of science, as at present held, 
must be completely shaken. It will not be neces- 
sary to retract any of the laws or facts which have 
been won with such great exertion, at such a cost, 
but merely to remodel our conceptions of science 
and enlarge its boundaries so as to include the 
new facts — and possibly to include a spiritual 
universe, a world of forces and causes, of which 
we see the resultants merely. We should open 
communication with a world of spiritual intelli- 
gences, they apparently producing phenomena 
which we are called upon to study; and the solu- 
tion of these phenomena will, without doubt, form 
the Coming Science. 



Abnormality, question of» &9~ 

Absolute, the, 970-79. 
Adier, Dr. Felix, 39. 
Anderson, Dr., 74. 
Apparitions, nature of, 97S- 

Aruliani, Dr., 37a 
Ascensi, M., 376. 
'* Atmosphere," 317-19. 

Balfour, A. J., 60. 
Barrett, Prof. W. F., 60. 
Belief, value of, 30-39. 
Bemheim, Dr., 74. 
Binet, A , 74. 
Blech, M., 375. 
Braid, Dr., 74, 180-81. 
Bramwell, Dr. Mihie, 73, 74, 

75, 76, 179, 18(^7, 189, 191. 
Buiwer, Lord Lytton, 396, 336. 

Cams, Dr. Paul, 148^58, 166-9. 
Census of Hallucinations, 979. 
Charcot, Dr., 67, 79, 73, 181, 

Clifford, Prof. W. K., 135. 
Clothes of ghosts, 315. 
Cocke, Dr., 74. 
Coming Science, defined, 9-13, 

Confidence, importance of, 

Consciousness, inclusiye,34-5 ; 

nature of, 118; relation of, 

to body, 199-6. 199-36. 
Consdousnets of dying, 999-6. 

Cooley, Georgia Gladys, 339- 

Crookes, Sir WiUiam, 60, 196» 

931-4, 377. 
Crowe, Mrs., 313. 
Criminal suggestion, question 

of, 74-6. 
Crystal-gasing, 65-6. 

DaTis, Andrew Jackson, 94» 

De Coormdlet, 74. 
De Mude, 74. 

Devil theory of hypnotism, 70. 
Duncan, Dr. Kennedy, 110-11. 
Dods, Dr. J. B., 119. 
Dreams, nature and duunscter 

of, 910-99. 
Dying, consciousness of, 999-6. 

Electricity and lifb, 100-ia 

EUiotson, Dr., 180. 

Eneigy, vanishing of, 97-8; 

conservation of, 99-104^ 
Esdaile, Dr., 180. 
Evolution of mind, 9-3; of 

spirit, a 

Faria, Abb^, 18a 

F6r6, Dr., 74. 

Flammarion, Camilk, 59, S5S» 

371-5, 379, 381. 
Fletcher, Horace, 41. 
Foa, Dr. C 378. 
Fonteney, de, 8TS. 
Fox Sifters, 998-9. 



Funk, Dr. I. K., 139. 144. 
Future Ufe, indifference to* 
18-19 ; objections to, 90-93. 

Gladstone, Hon., 86. 
Gumey, Edmund, 60, T4, 188, 
185. 187, 976, 978, 3981 

Haeckel, Ernst, 48, 59, 90, 195, 

144, 146. 
Hallucinations, natureof, 63-6$ 

Census of, 979. 
Happiness, defined, 41. 
Harris, Hon. John, 339. 
Hart, Dr. E., 79, 187. 
Hay den, Mrs., 931. 
Health, value of, 14-15. 
Heidenhain, Dr., 187. 
Hodgson, Dr. Richard, 68-9, 

168, 935, 936, 937, 939-40, 

941, 945, 948, 957. 
Home, D. D., 930-35. 
Hutchinson, Horace G., 195, 

Huxley, Prof. Thomas, 89, 

91, 198-9, 136. 
Hypnotism, nature of, 69-76, 

187-90; vs, mesmerism, 179- 

Hyslop, Dr. James H., 53, 60, 

194, 210, 299-6, 237, 249, 

250, 251, 953, 955, 257, 99ft- 

Hysteria, 7a 

Idealism, 27-8. 

James, Prof William, 4, 31, 
34, 52, 60, 68, 74, 88, 119, 
120-21, 135, 137, 187, 207, 
235, 239. 

Janet, Pierre, 328. 

Jastrow, Prof. Joseph, 83-4. 

Johnson, Miss Alice, 193-4. 

Lang, Andrew, 56, 60, 316-17. 
Langley, Professor, 60. 
Lavoisier, 93. 

Leadbeater, C W., 909. 
Leaf, Dr. Walter, 936, 941. 
Le Bon, Dr. Gustave, 99, 93-7. 
Li^beault,Dr., 187. 
Life, meaning of, 39-49 ; nature 

of, 108-lSw 
Ltoyd-Tuckey, Dr., 74. 
Lodge, Sir OUver, 44, 60, 80, 

936, 941, 383->5. 
Lowell, Prof. Perdyal, 118, 


MacDougall, Dr. Duncan, 985, 

Mason, Dr. Osgood, 79. 
Materialisation, possibility ci, 

Matter, nature of, 94^-5. 
Melville, Rear Admiral G. W., 

Mesmer, Anton, 179, 998. 
Mesmerism «i: hypnotism, 

Metaphysics, necessity for, 6. 
Mind, evolution of, 9-3. 
Mindnstuff theory, 135. 
MitcheU, J. A., 361-7. 
Moll, Dr. Albert, 74, 187. 
Morbiditv, 59-78. 
Myers, t. W. H., 60, 65, 74, 

77, 89, 115, 182, 184, 186, 

188-90, 196, 202, 214, 236, 

241, 947, 976, 320-21, 328. 

Newnham, Rev. P. B., 282. 
Nichols, Dr. T. L., 307. 

Omar Khayjram, 358, 359. 
Orthodox objections, 50-53. 

Paladino, Eusapia, 369-86. 
Piper, Mrs., 68-9, 935-8, 239- 

56, 257. 
Podmore, Frank, 63-4, 228, 

Positive electricity, and life, 




Prejudice, examples of, 46-7. 
Premonitions, theories of, 3oS~ 

Psychical phenomena^ value 

of, 24-6. 

Quackenbos, Dr., 74. 

Rabagliati, Dr. A., 307. 
Ramsey, Sir William, 91. 
Rayleigh, Lord, 60. 
Ripon, Bishop of, 60. 
Romanes, J. G., 129-36. 
Ruskin, John, 60. 

SchiUer, F. C. S., 18, 60, 126. 
Shaler, Prof. N., 104-5. 
Sidgwick, Prof. Henry, 60, 

114, 241. 
Sidgwick, Mrs. Henry, 260, 

Sleep, theories of, 204^10. 
Snyder, Carl, 109, 194. 
Spencer, Herbert, 136. 
Spirit, evolution of, 3. 
Stead, William T., 323. 
Stevenson, R. L., 18, 60. 
Stewart, Balfour, 60. 
Strong, Prof. G., 28, 136. 
Superstition, 53-7. 

Tamburini, Professor, 376. 

Telepathy, nature of, 115, 
^ 192-6, 201-3 ; evidence for, 

Theological objections to psy- 
chical research, 50-53. 

Thompson, Mrs., mediumship 
of, 69. 

Thomson, Dr. Hanna, 129. 

Thurston, H., 109. 

Time-relations, in dreams, 210- 

Trance, description of, 241-2. 

Tyndall, Professor, 127-8. 

Universe, end of, 95-6; be- 
ginning of, 96-7. 

Vincent, Harry, 187. 

Vitality, impossibility of add- 
ing to, 37-8; and law of 
conservation, 99-104, source 
of, 101-4. 

Waffner, Rudolph, 298. 
Wakeman, Thaddeus B., 139- 

48, 169-7a 
WaUace, Prof. A. R. ,46, 48,60. 
Will, weakened, 73. 
Willington Mill, 337. 

X, Miss, 65, 79, 313, 318» 
324-^, 326, 332, 334-6. 




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